Open Discussion: Week of April 1, 2018

Welcome to my last article at Phuture Phillies.  Three games into the Phillies’ season and I find that I’m not prepared to suffer through the mob mentality and waves of negativity prevalent among the vocal minority of Phillies’ fans.  I can’t endure this for another 159 games.

#Phly Phillies Phly!

April Fools!

Okay, some of you aren’t reading this until Monday, but I wrote the above portion of the article Sunday morning.

Don’t worry.  I met so many parents of players who thanked me for providing the information here that they wouldn’t see otherwise.  So, I will continue to provide you with the minor league reports as in the past.  This particular type of article is in jeopardy, though. The discussion is about the major league club and really not a prospect discussion.  It is the article I like least, but I’ll keep it going for now.

The Phillies stumbled out of the gate against the Braves this weekend. losing two of three games.  A lot has been made of Kapler’s handling of the pitching staff.  But, I’m not going to go into that.  The thing I noticed and was concerned about was that in the opener, of the final 10 Phillies’ outs 8 were by strike out.  Braves’ relievers struck out the side in the eighth and ninth innings.

Three games is an extremely small sample size, so don’t embarrass yourself in the Comments Section.  I’m sure a lot of you are chomping at the bit to write “I told you so” or “I knew it”.  But, keep it in your pocket for now or take it to Phillies.com.

Organizational News and Changes

I found a bunch of transactions that helped me figure out the rosters as listed in the link below.  The Phillies continue to add young international free agents.  I’ll catch up with all that information by next week.  But the org rosters and DL are current

Spring Training

The Phillies’ eXtended Spring Training schedule starts on April 9th and is available here.

Minor League Report

Three affiliates broke camp and headed to their home sites.  Lakewood will hang around Clearwater for a few days before heading to Kannapolis for their opener.

They will play a scrimmage against the Threshers Tuesday night.

Rosters for AAA, AA, and A have been released.  The Threshers will release theirs soon.  I listed a very close guess on their roster with the other three a couple days ago here. (Update: the Threshers announced their preliminary roster around noon on Monday. I updated my earlier prediction.  This is  the Threshers announcement.)

The GCL Phillies East and West begin their seasons on June 18th and 19th.  I have their full schedules and will post then soon.

Key Dates:

  • 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 9, 2018 – Extended Spring Training games begin
  • 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
  • June 18, 2018 – GCL Phillies East home opener v. GCL Yankees West
  • June 19, 2018 – GCL Phillies West home opener v. GCL Yankees East
  • July 13-17, 2018 – All-Star Week
  • July 17, 2018 – 89th All Star Game
  • 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)

  • 3/25/18 – Phillies designated RHP Ricardo Pinto for assignment
  • 3/25/18 – Phillies designated C Cameron Rupp for assignment
  • 3/25/18 – Phillies optioned 2B Jesmuel Valentin to Lehigh Valley IronPigs
  • 3/25/18 – Phillies selected the contract of 2B Scott Kingery from Lehigh Valley
  • 3/25/18 – Phillies selected the contract of RHP Drew Hutchison from Lehigh Valley
  • 3/24/18 – Phillies released RHP Francisco Rodriguez
  • 3/23/18 – Phillies release Adam Rosales
  • 3/22/18 – Phillies release Ryan Flaherty
  • 3/21/18 – Phillies release Fernando Abad
  • 3/21/18 – Phillies traded 2B Eliezer Alvarez to Texas Rangers for cash
  • 3/19/18 – Rangers claimed 1B Tommy Joseph off waivers
  • 3/17/18 – Phillies optioned RHP Yacksel Rios to Lehigh Valley IronPigs
  • 3/16/18 – Phillies selected the contract of CF Pedro Florimon from Lehigh Valley
  • 3/16/18 – Phillies designated 2B Eliezer Alvarez for assignment
  • 3/13/18 – Phillies signed free agent LHP Tim Berry to a minor league contract
  • 3/13/18 – Phillies optioned RHP Seranthony Dominguez to Reading Fightin Phils
  • 3/12/18 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Jake Arrieta
  • 3/12/18 – Phillies designated 1B Tommy Joseph for assignment
  • 3/10/18 – RHP Ricardo Pinto assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs from Phillies
  • 3/10/18 – Phillies optioned RHP Ricardo Pinto to Lehigh Valley IronPigs
  • 3/9/18 – Phillies optioned 2B Eliezer Alvarez to Reading Fightin Phils
  • 3/9/18 – Phillies optioned RHP Jose Taveras to Lehigh Valley IronPigs
  • 3/9/18 – Phillies optioned RF Dylan Cozens to Lehigh Valley IronPigs
  • 3/9/18 – Phillies optioned RHP Franklyn Kilome to Reading Fightin Phils
  • 3/9/18 – Phillies optioned LHP Ranger Suarez to Clearwater Threshers
  • 3/7/18 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Manuel Urias to a minor league contract
  • 3/5/18 – Phillies optioned RHP Drew Anderson to Lehigh Valley IronPigs
  • Patrick Frazier
  • 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 
  • The organization’s injury list 
  • The organization’s Rule 5 eligibility list is not up to date.

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

390 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of April 1, 2018

  1. Good work Jim. You had me for a moment. Enjoy the updates and enjoyed chatting with you at the Complex. Hopefully will see you again next spring. Keep up the good work.

    1. Had me too! Jim, I don’t know what I’d do without you. Please, don’t give up anytime soon.

  2. As I look over the organizational rosters, I see a bit of something for everyone. AAA position players are meh but the pitchers will be interesting to watch. Cozens and Quinn are 2 position players who could play their way to Philly. Valentin, Walding and Pullin are guys that I’m pullin’ (no pun intended) for. The starters are poised to move up to Philly, if the opportunity presents itself. Anderson, De Los Santos, Eflin, Eshelman, Irvin and even Elniery Garcia could make a push for the show. Leibrandt is a guy to keep an eye on too.

    Reading is much the same as LHV. Pitching is what I’ll be watching here. Kilome, Saurez, Romero and even Waguespack will get a lot of attention. Arauz will move forward until he hits what I call, his level of incompetence (LOI). Reading will be a big test for him. Since he’s passed every test so far, I don’t see why Reading will be that LOI but it bears watching. Ed. Garcia and Sanchez are two other guys to watch closely. Seranthony could be the next big bullpen piece so let’s see how this experiment goes. On offense, the 3 Cs are players to watch. ‘C’ Randolph, Coppola and Canelo could make this team fun to watch.

    Clearwater could be the best team to watch in the organization. Jim, you should have a lot to see and report on here. Cabral and Lartigue are 2 catchers who look like they want to stick around for a long time. Hall, Gomez and Gamboa could help put a lot of runs on the board. Rivas is a guy who flies well under the radar but he’s done well and Luke Williams needs to prove himself soon or he’ll be out. Haseley and Moniak, the last two #1 picks for the Phils will be on display and would really like to make an impression. Alastre is another one of those Coppola/Laird types. I love watching these types of guys play. They get on base and disrupt opponents by running wild. They have almost no pop but they get on base a lot and just terrorize opponents. The pitching staff is strong too. Falter, Fanti, Sixto, Medino and Mills (in no particular order) will make opponents weak at the knees. This is a solid group… at least on paper.

    Lakewood has a great outfield with Ortiz as the sun spot. Matos, Muzzioti and Stephen could make this outfield really fun to watch. Brito, Nieporte, Stobbe and all the other guys have something to prove and hopefully will jump out of the gate and just keep going. LKW can be a tough place to hit the long ball but these guys should adjust to that. Pitching could be the soft spot for this team but some of these guys should rise to the challenge and fight to live another day.

    All in all this could be a good year for prospects. Show us what you got. Bring it every day and my best advice is to HAVE FUN! It’s a great game. Play it like you did when you were a kid… which, for most of these guys, wasn’t that long ago.

  3. How much longer is VV going to be a starter? Has great stuff but can’t command/control. This has been a long-time issue with him. I’d say move him to the bullpen…but the man can’t throw consistent strikes!

    1. It seems forever ago when he dazzled
      With 16k or what whatever it was … what has happened? I don’t think he has been that far into a game since then. What a tease from the baseball gods!

    2. He looked decent, better than what he did last season. The problem with him is his emotions. The second something goes bad,it goes downhill. And then he takes his sweet time throwing his pitch and the game starts dragging.

  4. And Jim, I think “Open Discussion” is a necessary evil. Though my name wouldn’t suggest it, I’ve been reading this site since 2009. I remember the days when people would break off in to MLB arguments in the daily reports, frustrating James to no end.

    It also gives those of us who follow the draft or int’l signings more closely than most a clear opportunity to talk about those things without fear of diluting threads intended for discussion on current players only.

    Just my two cents. Overall, you’re doing an incredible job with the site and the daily reports, and I am very appreciative of all the work you put into it.

    1. VV showed nothing in his first except for the same old thing. I’d guess that by mid May they’ll have their answer.

    2. Thank you. I understand your “two cents”. And if I ever decided to drop the Phillies discussion, I would certainly provide forums for the draft and international signings.

    3. Hi infrequent poster–I’ve asked this question before, not sure if anyone knows, but do you know where James has gone? He’s gone off twitter completely at this point, just wondering as I like his analysis.

  5. You continue to do well in keeping us ‘kids’ in line, Jim. Thanks for suffering us. Perspective is a rare commodity to passionate reactionaries like many Philly sports fans.

    David Murphy’s piece today on Kapler offers legitimate concerns about the trust, or loss thereof, which Gabe will need to reestablish from the clubhouse to the executive suites.

    But for those of us with frayed nerves (including me) right now, let’s pace ourselves and see how those immediately involved – the players, coaching staff and front office – respond to what’s really happening where our eyes can’t see.

    One long view suggestion I maintain, however, is that the bullpen would be improved by moving Velasquez and Pivetta (which won’t happen at the same time) and replacing Thompson and either Ramos or Garcia (the love for whom I don’t get) especially with Neshek gone indefinitely. Hutchison should be given a shot in the rotation. Meanwhile, Klentak would do well to begin in earnest the search for a legitimate, established SP via trade with the chips at his disposal.

    1. Well, then David Murphy is a tool for jumping on the manager after just 3 games. I had a lot of ire to direct at the local baseball media that I follow but decided to keep it out of the article. But they certainly would be categorized as wanting to be the first to say “I told you so” since Kapler’s philosophy is so different from what they expect and hope to protect. They’ll probably be at the head of the mob if the time comes. And by probably I mean certainly. Most don’t report so much as try to direct public opinion. And I said most, not all.

  6. Agree with infrequent poster. I’ll add that what makes a Philadelphia sports fan a Philadelphia sports fan is the passion, having a strong opinion, and most of all not being afraid to voice it. If you go read the comments section on crossing broad or philly.com, you’ll see that the people here on their most passionate, opinionated day always keep it 100x more professional and polite than those sites. I think everyone here should continue to voice their opinions as always and in the appropriate thread. And if people are mad as hell some days and want to express that? Good, because it’s probably because they care about the city, this franchise, the minor league affiliates, and the players. Good debate and disagreement is what this site is and should be about.

    1. I don’t mind one bit people blowing off steam here and being upset at the start of the season. And I agree that this part of the boards is necessary to keep the other sections free of clutter.

      However, I disagree wholeheartedly that people’s reactions to the team after three (and, let’s be realistic, it was actually after ONE) game is an act of “passion.” I am not lacking in passion for the Phils. I was only in high school in 2008, but I was in the stadium the night they won it all and I couldn’t speak properly for the next couple of days. I walked down streets lit by fire in place of street lights with a giant smile on my face that no one could take away. But I will not condemn a rookie (and Kapler is exactly that) after ONE game or even one series.

      What’s everybody so upset about, anyways? That our team lost a series? We’ve been projected to be under .500 all offseason. Get used to it. That our manager made a mistake? Are we forgetting the beloved Cholly? I recall we had a certain closer hold onto his role for MONTHS on the basis of past performance under his watchful eye. Where’s the outrage at our relievers? Is it negated (as it should be) by the fact that it’s a ridiculously small sample size?

      I just don’t get it. We’re used to this. Even in the glory days we often started slowly. We’re used to head-scratching decisions from the coaching staff. We’re used to losing games. We’re used to players under-performing. And yet here we are, raising pitchforks despite the fact that we can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our young stars are playing just like that; stars. We’ve long wondered if the Phils would break out the checkbook at the right time and they answered with a resounding, “Yes!” Are there still questions to answer? Sure. But stop trying to extrapolate a couple of peoples’ entire futures from a couple of days. There are some worth being exasperated about (VV, Franco, and some others have had long enough to show us more than they have. Their leash should be short). But the new guys? Let them work it out.

      Think about it this way; how many of you would have sent Hoskins down if his first game last year resulted in 0-4 with 4K’s? None of you? How many of you remember that he started 0-10 with 4 K’s and 2 BB’s before he got his first hit in his FOURTH game? It was a single by the way. It wasn’t until the day after that where he began his onslaught of the league. It is unfair to be so harsh on some and not others. Hoskins had a longer time to get familiar with professional baseball, by the way. What with playing in the minors for years and all.

      Sorry for the rant. But a lot of you guys have justified it. You’ll miss out on a lot of really great things if you make up your mind instantly. Will Kapler or this team ever be great? I don’t know. But let them give it a fair shot.

      1. I essentially agree with everything you’re saying. I also think that people, including fans, are extremely resistant to change. When a new guy comes in and offers change and screws things up in the process the reaction is especially severe – basically all of the guy’s failings are attributed to his “new thinking” when, in fact, I think his failures have less to do with that than a lack of experience and common sense. His “analytics” were not the reason his relief pitcher was not prepared to enter a game. That was just Gabe screwing up.

        Baseball is a marathon. He hasn’t gotten off to a good start, but he’s in the first quarter mile of a 26-mile marathon. So the hope is that he learns from this and moves on. If he doesn’t – guess, what – he’s going to get fired. That’s why it’s hard for me to dwell on this – managers come and go all the time. And whenever you need an experienced manager it seems that a guy like Joe Girardi is sitting in the wings waiting for your call. And while I get that the discussion about Kapler is somewhat connected to prospects (will he “ruin” the prospects by his managing? etc. . .. ), it’s really much more about the major league team, which is not the focus of this site.

        I mean, this is the general comments section, so everyone is free to comment, but, I think the knee-jerk, sports-radio type reaction to what happened, while understandable, is overblown, very short-term focused, and not that relevant to what this site is about. Furthermore, those problems are going to sort themselves out sooner rather than later, because if they don’t, Kapler won’t be managing come June. So I’d rather focus on how good Scott Kingery is looking rather than dwell on Gable Kapler. That’s just me.

      2. I made an extended comment to this post (and another extended comment yesterday), but they didn’t go through again. So I’ll say I generally agree and will further add that, ultimately, discussions about the major league manager are not particularly relevant to the focus of this site, which is minor league prospects. I get that they are somewhat connected (of course I get it), but not that much. I also am not that concerned about the manager of a rebuilding team like the Phillies because if he continues to be bad, he will simply be fired.

        1. Catch as jim has stated I will not comment on major league team. but I hope your kidding. not to be concerned about a manager on a rebuild is really imo. is crazy.

          1. Of course I care but this is going to play itself out fairly quickly if he remains this incompetent, so, no I’m not worried about it because managers in baseball come and go like used cars and he’s not immune to that (I also feel confident that John Middleton doesn’t want to be a laughing stock – so he’s not likely to tolerate this for long if things don’t change). The only thing you’ve mentioned that I am concerned about over the long run is players getting hurt – if he continues to put players in a position where they run an unnecessary risk of injury that does concern me. I’ll never forget how dumb ass Jim Fregosi letting Tommy Greene pitch a complete game in an 18-1 game where, in the game before, he threw 142 pitches. So, yeah, if Kapler imperils the health of his relief pitchers by overworking them, I am going to care. The rest of the stuff will work itself out one way or another – including through the possible firing of Kapler.

        2. I will also reiterate that I’ve always said his tenure will likely be either extremely successful or a disaster – so far it’s been a disaster. But it’s 3 games. Let’s see how it looks after 30 or 60 games. If it’s still this bad, he probably won’t be here.

      3. You are missing the point people are making about Kapler – this isn’t about sample size or anything else, this is about competence vs incompetence. You don’t need a sample size – there have been millions of innings played and thousands of pitching changes made without this level of incompetence being displayed. There is a massive difference between Charlie making a pitching change we don’t agree with vs Kapler waving his left hand to an empty bullpen.

        1. I think it’s ironic that Kapler talks about value at the margins and then plays people out of position, seemingly gratuitously, creating liabilities at the margins.

        2. If your argument is that a “competent” manager would never have bullpen miscommunications, then you must think Tony La Russa is an incompetent manager. Or are you forgetting the 2011 World Series? If you are saying he’s incompetent, then Cooperstown disagrees.

          Bochy had a mix up late in the 2016 season as well. Wrong handed reliever came out to his evident (televised) displeasure.

          Oh, and the Yankees’ new manager is also incompetent. He completely forgot to tell his reliever to warm up for his inning. He just happened to be lucky enough to screw up in spring training. So Kapler’s not even the first manager to make that mistake this year.

          That’s just three examples off the top of my head. I’m not in that dugout. I don’t know exactly what happened. Based on what he said later, he was under the impression that Milner had already warmed up the previous inning. In which case it’s not unusual for the pitcher to just jog to the mound and throw his warm ups there and be ready.

          I implore you to stop being so dramatic and reactionary. It was a stupid mistake. People tend to make those. He owned up to it, which is what he should do as a manager. If he makes the same mistake again then we have a problem. But even veterans of their industry make rookie mistakes every once in a while. He’s just televised.

    2. I’m from Philadelphia. Don’t try to school me on Philadelphia sports fans. I was once threatened in The Bus Stop for suggesting Randall Cunningham was a good QB. I was wearing a halo, recovering from a fractured vertebra. Our passion sometimes borders on idiocy. Case in point. Suggestions that after three games that Kapler, Klentak, MacPhail, and everyone in the organization short of Middleton should be fired. After THREE games. Passion? That’s the kind of drek that belongs on those other sites. Not a Phillies’ prospect site.

      1. If opinions that differ from yours are drek, how is that different than the media types directing public opinion as you suggest? I thought discussion forums were places where people with different opinions could discuss. Those on here criticizing Kapler and the poor leadership that allowed this to happen are not calling others names, using foul language, or being disrespectful to others. There was a commenter on here years ago that shall remain nameless that made a habit of insulting others. I’ve been following this site for probably 5 years now and this is the best and most respectful it’s ever been. I certainly hope the future of this site allows for open dialogue and free thinking to join the unmatched quality of your research, observation, and sharing Jim.

  7. I have been impressed by Maikel Franco’s plate discipline. On Saturday he went with an outside pitch and sent it to right field for a single. He has taken pitches and received walks where before he would have struck out at bad balls. He continues to be a very good fielder. I am impressed and hope he stays concentrated at the plate. He has so much to offer.

    1. I’m not sure Franco will get there but I love that he appears to be listening and trying to change his approach. That is the girst required step so fingers crossed.

  8. Kapler:
    I am trying my best to get a handle on him as a manager, and at the same time reserve judgment and will give him the benefit of the doubt.
    IMO, he seems to be a little be of a cross between Chip Kelly and Doug Pederson’s
    first season.
    Kelly started out great and everyone loved his new offense and then it
    turned sour after the league caught up to him
    Pederson started out very doubtful , making poor decisions that first season
    and people were calling for a more experienced coach, but then Wentz
    blossomed and it all came together.
    Kapler seems to embody both.
    Innovative ideas and a strong belief in himself and system.
    So I am willing to let it play out.

    1. Romus lay off the rum and coke early in the morning. Your not serious about this clown kapler? I know you better

      1. rocco…..In Bermuda, if I recall correctly, it is referred to as a Swizzle…and no, have not had any this morning.
        Lets give him some time…remember when the Eagles lost to the Redskins in Oct 2016 and then a few weeks later to the Cowboys on poor decisions by the coach in games they could have easily won…..people wanted to run Pederson out of town. Then before that was the Lions game and the fumble at the end of the game.
        All I am saying is…..let him have his chance.

  9. I’d like everyone to think about a) why Kapler waved to an empty bullpen and called in Milner and b) why he stated using position players as pitchers is part of a grand strategy. The massive concern of him doing these things is far outweighed by the reasons he did these things.

    1. @Johnny G……..”b) why he stated using position players as pitchers is part of a grand strategy”….I get what you are saying and .that isn’t a new strategy.
      That has been done quite a bit thru the years by manages in lopsided losses or long extra inning games.
      The only difference this time with Kapler….he may have been the first manager to do it so early in a season, in the third game.

  10. Jim …. is what negativity are you referring to? 🙂 I’ve only known philly fans, and especially Phillies fans to be overly positive!

    I’m not happy with the start to the season, but I give a lot of people in this town a long leash, but I usually make up my mind before then, hope I’m wrong, and what the fireworks.

    On Kapler, I think he has to rearablish trust, because I’m sure all the young kids are giving lip service, saying all the right things, but .. on the inside … different story. I’ll give Kapler some more chances .. pretty sure I’ve seen a pitcher be called into a game with no warmup, shouldn’t happen but I’ve seen it somewhere along my 30+ plus years off mostly losing baseball 🙂

    On VV, I’ll give him to mid season, but my mind will be made up in. 3 more starts. I’m not feeling good about his SP future. I’d hope to see some significant steps forward. 3 more starts I want to see it. Don’t care if it’s early, he should be flashing the signs after a whole offseason of working on his faults

  11. From a historical standpoint, I know of no team in the MLB that has done a worse job than the Phillies in evaluating, signing and developing starting pitching. It seems to cut across all team leadership at all levels. Now we have Aaron Nola, years ago it was Cole Hamels with dry spells in between and long before Hamels. You can talk a lot about what is wrong with the Phillies and fix a lot that is wrong. But if you can’t develop starting pitchers who can keep you in the game, then you are thrust into the market place to spend on a commodity in short supply. I don’t see any help on the way this year and the Phils again look to be thin at starting pitching, even as the season begins and everyone is healthy..

    1. What are your criteria for evaluating and developing? They developed Hamels, Happ, Worley, Carrasco (he was traded to Cleveland the same year he made his major league debut, so that’s mostly Phils’ development), and Nola to varying degrees of success. Worley is the only one who, had we kept them all, wouldn’t currently be in the rotation. That’s pretty self-sustaining.

      As for evaluating; Eickhoff, Lee (most people thought he was just a bargain grab instead of getting, say, Halladay), Hellickson (trash heap pick up that got us something of value), Morton (unfortunate injury notwithstanding), and not to mention all those pitching prospects we traded away that amounted to nothing. The Phils evaluated them pretty well to get a lot of value out of them. Imagine we held onto to Drabek instead of using him to get Halladay? Ouch.

      Plus our pitchers in the minors (especially Sixto) are pretty well regarded. None of them are early draft picks. That means the Phils grabbed a player that any team could have gotten. That’s the hallmark of good evaluation. It’s easy to draft Strasburg or David Price when no one else has a say in it. Less so to get a potential ace for 35K (what Sixto signed for).

      I honestly have no idea where the Phillies stack in baseball in this regard. I tend to agree that they’re probably near the bottom percentage wise. But historically bad? Doubt it. Have the Twins developed anything of note since Santana? And even he was a Marlin draft pick. They have Berrios now, but before that… Liriano? They’re typically a SP blackhole, so nothing comes to mind.

      1. Just for fun, go look at the career wins leaders for the Phillies. 75 wins is a modest career total but since Robin Roberts, the only home grown guys that have reached that total while wearing the candy stripes are Curt Simmons, Chris Short, Cole Hamels, Larry Christenson, Dick Ruthven and Rick Wise. Wrap your ahead around that and tell me that backs up your argument.

        Then go look at the top 30 prospects lists compiled over the past years on this website and ask “Where are they now?”

        This is not a problem of recent vintage, it’s been a problem for as long as I have been a fan going back to 1958. There are always prospects on the horizon and Sixto Sanchez may turn out to be a star for the ages. But if he makes it in Philly, he’ll be the exception that bears out the rule.

        1. I see now where the issue lies.

          1) Wins is a horrible metric to determine pitching success.

          2) 75 wins is by no means, “modest.” Most teams have around 30 pitchers in their history with 75+ wins. The Phils are around 27 IIRC. 75 wins, especially in the modern era, means that the pitcher not only stayed healthy for a long time, but had good fortune AND stayed on the same team for a large chunk of their career. That just doesn’t happen anymore. Hell, Kyle freaking Kendricks is an outlier and he wasn’t even that good. He just got lucky a few seasons and never really had health issues. And for some reason he hung around even when we had four legitimate staff aces on our team.

          3) Prospects flame out. It’s what they do. Less than 1% of all MLB prospects make the majors, and even fewer have any meaningful impact. That’s especially true of pitchers who are one elbow injury away from retiring at any given time. Yeah, we’ve had our fair share of misses, but ask yourself this: what happened to Tyler Matzek? Manny Banuelos? Christian Friedrich, John Lamb, Chad James, Jacob Turner, Casey Kelly, Jarrod Parker, Zack Wheeler, Danny Hultzen, Tony Cingrani, Trevor Bauer, Henry Owens, Justin Nicolino, Trey Ball, David Holmberg, Robert Stephenson, Taylor Guerrieri?

          In fact, what happened to Mark Appel? Sure, the Phils thought it was worth acquiring him. But we’re not the ones who spent first round draft picks on him. That’s (at least) 3 teams that missed on him. Including the vaunted Astros who spent the number 1 overall pick on him.

          I feel I should reiterate; I don’t believe the Phils to be in the top half of the league when it comes to pitcher development. But they’re not historically bad. You just know a lot more about them than you do the other teams and their prospects. You see a Kershaw show up in Dodgers blue and think, “why can’t we do that?” without realizing they went over a decade without anything significant themselves (just an example, not necessarily true). Look at the Dodger’s top prospects from 2010-2013. Which of them are contributing in the majors? It’s a short list that basically comprises of, “Corey Seager… Joc Pederson and Scott van Slyke… I guess…” It’s the nature of the game. You just need some luck and timing sometimes.

          1. “1) Wins is a horrible metric to determine pitching success.”

            Choose the metric you want; you’re fishing with a basket. You think All Star game appearances will assist your argument, it won’t. The Phils don’t produce short term flame out top notch starting pitchers or consistent-over-the-years rack-up-the-victories pitchers either. In short, the metric that would substantiate what I understand to be your argument hasn’t been discovered yet.

    2. “From a historical standpoint, I know of no team in the MLB that has done a worse job than the Phillies in evaluating, signing and developing starting pitching”….top of my head I can think of the Cubs.
      Who have they developed from their system?
      Hendricks was traded for from the Rangers, Arrieta from Baltimore……but they help develop Archer than they traded him.
      And they won a WS without developing any pitchers( Lester a FA), …but FA signings and trades.
      Phillies may be below average…but not sure I would label them as the worse.

      1. I feel this is like a layup drill debating this point as you can research this as readily as I but in the corresponding time period, the Cubs have Ferguson Jenkins (signed by the Phils but traded for pitchers past their ‘use by date’ and developed by the Cubs), Rick Reuschel, Greg Maddux, Carlos Zambrano, Bob Rush, Bill Hands, Dick Ellsworth, Ken Holtzman and Kerry Wood. Not a lot of success recently but better than the Phils since Hamels is the only pitcher who has pitched since 1983 who has reached the 75 win threshold. The Twins have done far better over this time period as well.

        The Phils have signed players from Latin America since the 1950’s but no pitcher from there has even reached the 50 win mark in Philly.

        So this puts the Phils behind every franchise that has fielded a team going back to the fifties and behind some teams that came later through expansion. 75 wins won’t get a starting pitcher to Cooperstown but will get him a prominent place on the Phils’ all time list. If the argument is that the Phils have developed yeoman pitchers who fell short of this mark, who were they? You’re left with the Kyle Kendricks, Art Mahaffey, Wayne Twitchell, Bob Walk, Don Carman, Kevin Gross type of pitcher who enjoyed only brief, modest success.

        1. You are correct…..this becomes a lay-up drill….and one can go all the way back to the late 1800s.
          Now if you feel the Philies are worse, at the bottom of the barrel, then you are entitled to that opinion.
          And there is already a ready-made reason to support that assertion …..the Phillies in the history of MLB…have the most losses with 10,800 plus.
          So there in alone indicates the futility of the organization and pitching would be an integral negative part of the sum total of that futility.

          1. ” ….pitching would be an integral negative part of the sum total of that futility.”

            True, and what I think flows from that is that the Phils’ need to turn around this problem of identifying, signing and developing quality starting pitching if they hope to prosper. If not, I think you can toss aside the question of “When will the Phils’ rebuild lead them to contention?”

    3. I think Enyel arrives pretty quick as in mid season this year and Howard could very well take a fast track like Nola did say 2019.

      ….and we all know Sixto is the real deal if he stays healthy you’d peg him to arrive 2020.

  12. On a positive note you have to love the starts by Cesar Hoskins and Kingery. For obvious reasons we need Hernandez to keep being Hernandez early on.

    It really stinks that Cesar and Scott are both natural 2B’s. Sure you can kind of move them around a little bit but that minimizes their value.

  13. I’m not a fan of Kapler so far. Here are my 2 beefs:

    1. Let’s all agree that the 3rd time though an order, the numbers are not going to be great. That applies to pretty much all pitchers. But going to the bullpen early is just going to tax the bullpen. After 3 games, we’re already seeing it.

    2. Keeping players healthy is great. Players do need breaks to rest their body and mind. But players not knowing if they’ll play everyday? Not a good thing in my opinion. Players like routine. The only players who have played all 3 games are Hoskins and Santana. You gotta give them a day off too right? Already Odubel griped about not starting opening day and Kapler said it was a good thing. Really? What happens if players start pressing at the plate to show that they deserve more playing time?

    1. Fair complaints. The first one may be a result of being early in the season, though. That is to say, after they’re more stretched out and into mid-season form, Kapler may elect to give them longer leashes. Having a quick hook early in the year can also preserve health. We’ll see, I guess.

      For the second one, I was kind of under the impression that Kapler was specifically sending a message to Doobie with the opening day thing. It was pretty effective if that’s the case. As for having a routine, the routine doesn’t have to be playing every day. If they’re scheduled every fifth day off, for example, that’s still a routine. We have a lot of players for limited positions. They could start pressing, but that’s one of those things major leaguers need to learn to combat. If they can’t figure it out, then they aren’t a major leaguer.

      I can’t say for sure. Just playing a bit of devil’s advocate.

      1. Sending a message to Odubel on opening day? Seriously? He hasn’t done anything yet!

        If any message needs to be sent, it should be towards Maikel Franco.

        1. He was supposedly dogging it in spring training. Not sure I’d take exception with that myself, but the line has to be drawn somewhere. And if your coach tells you to hustle and you don’t, it’s fair to expect some form of punishment. I don’t mind sitting him for a game to send a message. Opening Day has a stigma, so it’s especially clear then. But it’s still only one game in the scheme of things.

          We’ll revisit if it becomes a recurring theme.

    2. In kaplers defense, I read that him and his staff will l have the players “work schedule” out roughly 8 days in advance. That leads to other questions, like hot hands, but the players should have sufficient time to get mentally and physically prepared … minus the Milner hiccup of course 🙂

      1. Tac that the hell does it mean work schedule.. what a joke. OH MY I THINK MY HEAD IS GOING TO EXPLODE. DEFENSE OF THIS GUY, ROMUS SHOOT ME

        1. Roccom – tongue in cheek on the “work schedule”. He stated the players will know 8 days in advance, they won’t be left in the dark if he implements his plan correctly, but again that leads to other questions, like how do you play the hot hand? I guess you just never do with that “plan”

          1. thought i heard Hernandez was supposed to sit for Kingery game 2 but then that changed after Hernandez had a good game 1, so who knows in regards to the hot hand factor.
            on the pitching change fiasco, im still wondering if none of the coaches realized what was happening, or if they tried to tell Kapler the problem and he didnt listen, or they were content with him going out there and looking like an idiot.
            the Nola move has to be viewed in the context of them having PIvetta and VV to pitch the next 2 games; having those 2 in order seems like a recipe for disaster with their propensity for short outings. hopefully they split those guys up going forward.

            1. That is exactly what I was wondering with the pitching change issue. I think knowing the answer to that question would be very telling.

        2. Roccom – tongue in cheek on the “work schedule”. He stated the players will know 8 days in advance, they won’t be left in the dark if he implements his plan correctly,

          Don’t shoot the messenger!

          …but again that leads to other questions, like how do you play the hot hand? I guess you just never do with that “plan”

      2. The work schedule that far in advance is funny. The “hot hand” is one issue. Another issue is a player who gets “nicked up” and needs a day or 2 to heal.

  14. Good one Jim! But on a serious note.. simple rule, follow mama’s advice. If ya ain’t got anything good to say… Thanks for the work and time you put into the blog. This parent/fan/lover of all things baseball appreciates you.

    1. Hope Kapler doesn’t get into the heads of the 24 yr.olds(Nola,Hoskins,Kingery……..Thank goodness Chip Kelly was gone before the other 24 year old arrived,in Carson City,Wentzylvania.

  15. now free agents will not want to sign with the Phils with this guy leading the charge, bring back Pete Mc

    1. No doubt Kapler’s first weekend in the dugout was a disaster. It started with his lack of knowledge about his own starting pitching staff when took out Aaron Nola (one of only two SP’s who can give him seven innings) after just 68 pitches. He totally misused (ran into the ground) his bullpen. He continued by calling into the game a guy who hadn’t been warming up (although, I wouldn’t be surprised if [bench coach] Rob Thompson, [pitching coach] Rick Kranitz, or even [bullpen coach] Jim Gott were involved in that mishap). That said, I’m willing to give him a mulligan. Let’s see what he does over the next 159 games.
      Also, John Middleton is not going to let anything get in the way of being the “biggest spender” on next winter’s historic FA class. If he believes Kapler is an impediment to luring stars (and I don’t think that will be the case), he’ll replace him.

    2. @jimmysmith looks like he lost his way en route to the csnphilly comments section and ended up here

  16. Why is Cord Sandberg going to Williamsport? I thought he showed enough growth last year to give him an opportunity in Reading. Does anyone have the inside scoop?

    1. Oddly, he was beaten out by Jan Hernandez for the 4th OF at Reading. The starters are already set. Maybe he’s hurt a little.

    2. As they did last year, they clearly are using the Williamsport roster as a roster management tool to park players until the Williamsport season starts. Sandberg is not going to Williamsport and I would expect he will be added to Reading soon and they will park another player on Williamsport’s roster when they add Sandberg and rotate players until someone either gets moved up or down.

      I’m sure they will use Williamsport’s roster for the 3 extra players they currently have on Clearwater’s preliminary roster.

    3. MHS….administrative move as Jim stated last week with players being assigned to WLM.
      Short-season WLM does not start until mid-June, doubt he plays there at all.

  17. I’d rather focus on the minor league season starting later this week. Will Sanchez and Fanti be held back for awhile? What hitters will come out hot? What will be Cwater’s lineup? Moniak lead off? Haseley and Hall 3/4? Lots of left handed bats.

      1. It looks like MM in CF and Haseley in RF although I’m sure they’ll both play both. Top of order could be Moniak, Gamboa, Haseley, Hall, Listi (DH), before Gomez, Williams, a catcher, and Alastre

      1. Uh oh thats not good Jim. You eluded to something being up in your last article but didn’t want to jump the announcement. That tells me you were given information in confidence possibly.

        Hopefully its nothing serious

  18. A couple off things
    1. No vet pitcher or hitter is going to come here seeing what happened this weekend. There’s has to be a hugh turnabout.
    2. Remember the Phillies lost Eick, Lieter, Neshek, Hunter before the season started.
    3. The Phillies rotation should look like this Nola ,Arrieta, LhP, Eick, either V,V , Pivetta or lively. V,V has spent a hole 35 ings in AAA in his career.
    4. My phone app charts pitches V,V threw 30 FB 3 breaking balls in his first 33 Pitchers. It wasn’t until he started to get really hit did he change to some breaking balls. Once Eick comes off he DL send V,V down to work on mixing pitches to keep hitters off balance.
    5. Pivetta has 2 pitches FB ,CB where’s his 3rd pitch.again send him down to work on a 3rd pitch .
    6. When Arrieta and Eick are in the rotation it will be better .

  19. Don’t know if anyone posted this yet, but MLB unveiled the bonus slots for this year’s draft. Even though the Phillies have the third overall pick, they have just the 13th largest bonus pool at $8,858,500. This is because they’ve forfeited their second and third round picks for their FA signings and other teams have multiple top two round picks because of Compensatory and competitive balance picks. Here’s a rundown of what the Phillies do and don’t have:
    1-3 is worth $6,947,500
    2nd round (lost to Santana signing) was worth $1,556,100
    3rd round (lost to Arrieta signing) was worth $726,700
    4th round is worth $522,900
    5th round is worth $390,600
    6th round is worth $292,700
    7th round is worth $228,000
    8th round is worth $180,600
    9th round is worth $153,600
    10th round is worth $142,600

    IMO … Klentak should be able to deal for a competitive balance pick. If he acquires just one, it doesn’t matter if it’s a comp A (end of round one) or comp B (end of round two) pick. Either one would amount to the Phillies getting back their third round selection (worth $726,700). Derek Jeter has been practically giving away MLB all stars (for waaay below market value) to save the Marlins money. He would most likely be very eager to hand over his comp B pick if Klentak would eat a bad contract.

    As far as the draft goes, Casey Mize has now established himself as the clear top talent available. His five pitch mix features three plus (or even plus-plus, according to some scouts) offerings. They include his 97 MPH FB, splitter, and cutter. This season Mize has totaled 97 K’s vs just 3 BB’s over 47 IP. Over the past two seasons Mize is 130.2 IP, 179 K’s, 12 BB !!!!! (IMO) He is probably the best pitching prospect to hit the draft since Stephen Stasburg.
    Without a second or third round pick, this draft (for me) is all about that 1-3 selection. With that said, why not go all in on Casey Mize ? I mean offer him more money than what Detroit’s 1-1 is worth ($8,096,300). How would the Phillies do this ? Here’s how:
    1-3 slot ($6,947,500) + 5% overage of total budget ($442,925) + fourth round pick, minus a 50 thousand dollar senior sign ($472,900) + ninth round pick, minus 5 thousand dollar senior sign ($148,600) + tenth round pick, minus 5 thousand senior sign ($137,600) = $8,149,525

    If Johnny Almarez promises Casey Mize $8,149,525, Mize (or really his rep) tells the Tigers he won’t sign for anything less than that. Obviously, Detroit (and SFG at 1-2) will have the means to meet that price, but both of those clubs have bad farm systems and might prefer to spread their bonus pool out to sign multiple high end (more expensive) picks.
    … or maybe Mize has another bout of forearm soreness (like he did last season), and he organically falls to the Phillies at 1-3.

    1. Also … these reports on Matt Liberatore and Nolan Gorman from Perfect Game after their performance(s) at last week’s NHSI:

      Matt Liberatore, LHP, Peoria, Ariz.
      Liberatore’s one-hit performance was a strong outing, although maybe not what some teams picking near the top of the draft were looking for. It was especially impressive when he ratcheted up his velocity to 91-93 mph during the bottom of the seventh inning of a tie game.

      Nolan Gorman, 3B, Glendale, Ariz.
      Gorman showed his big raw power well in batting practice, although it was muted somewhat by opposing pitchers working around him in games. While some scouts have questioned his lower half quickness and range this spring, he looked quick and agile defensively at third base with a strong arm and a very quick release.

    2. Sorry. I mis-spoke/mis-typed. This season, Casey Mize has 70 K’s (not 97) vs 3 BB’s. Again, sorry for that. Promise to concentrate a little more and never let that happen again.
      Bottom line … 179 K’s vs 12 BB’s over the past two seasons is more than “controlling the strike zone” !!! Mize is dominating the strike zone !!!

    3. I think the Phillies should draft BPA- if the player refuses to sign, the Phils get a pick in the first round next year, so no big deal I don’t understand why more teams don’t do this. Sure it may piss off an agent or player but whatever, the rules are the rules. Plus is it really a better move to go to college and risk injury (or a lower draft status) for a few million more? Baseball is a continuous cycle so unless it is an amazing draft what is the difference of waiting a year. (for the GM i get that there is a risk but then again there is a risk for picking the wrong guy)

  20. I do have a pitcher that’s perfect for Kapler sys Pat Venditte. He could pitch 2ings LH 2 ings RH. Also RA Dicky as long relief.

    1. Tim:
      Double-headers now are a result of a make-up game normally.
      MLB has the new rule , put in last season or 2016, where a team can a pitcher or two to the 25 from their minor league system without going thru all the normal administrative paperwork .
      The rules states:
      “Beginning on MLB Opening Day and extending up through August 31st, a club can temporarily add a 26th player to its MLB Active List on any day where two games are scheduled, as long as the second game was not scheduled as the result of a game that was postponed or suspended the previous day. If the postponed or suspended game was from the previous day, a “26th man” can be temporarily added to a club’s MLB Active List for the second game only.

      1. The “26th man” must be on the club’s MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) or has to be added to the club’s 40-man roster that day.
      2. The “26th man” does not have to be a pitcher.
      3. In the case of two games being scheduled on the same day where the 26-man Active List limit is in effect for both games, the “26th man” cannot be switched between games.
      4. A minor league player can be added to a club’s Active List as the “26th man” even if he has not spent ten days on Optional Assignment (or Outright Assignment) prior to being added.
      5. A “26th man” can remain on the Active List and a different player can be dropped the next day, as long as the “26th man” was not called up from the minors prior to spending at least ten days on Optional or Outright Assignment. However, a player called up as the “26th man” prior to spending at least ten days on Optional or Outright Assignment could remain on the 25-man roster if the player replaces a player who is placed on the Disabled List (or other MLB inactive list) the next day.
      6. If a player is recalled as the “26th man” and is optioned or outrighted back to the minors the next day, the “10-day rule” clock (prohibiting a player from being recalled until he has spent at least ten days on Optional or Outright Assignment, unless he is replacing a player who is placed on the DL or other MLB inactive list) does not start over again. However many days toward ten that the player spent on Optional or Outright Assignment prior to being recalled as the “26th man” counts toward the ten days.
      7. The “26th man” accrues one day of MLB Service Time…..”

  21. I know that rule but in A Kapler sys of the starting pitchers going 68 pitches then to the Bp the Bp would be over used in a DH.

    1. Tim….he will nt be puliing pitchers out with 68 pitches again….especially not Nola or Arrieta.
      The others…like ViVe and Pivetta…..not sure they will reach 68 pitches the way they have been going of late.

      With todays PPD, tomorrow he could go with Nola and skip Lively if he wants for a day or for the full rotation, since it could push back Arrieta;s start from Sunday vs the Marlins to .Monday vs the Reds

      1. We hope his sys gets discontinued . However I think the Phillies brass had to know and sign off on it. So they will give it a couple of wks. However if it is horrible then what Kapler has no history of being ML Manager.

        Can it get better yes it could go from 68 pitches too 78 in a WK.then to 88 in another wk. Your best pitchers on a baseball team are supposed to be your starters. when you limit them .then your putting more pressure on your middle relief.

        Can it get worse yes if we see the 68 pitch rule being imposed at the minor league level.

  22. Bets on who is first in line to be called up first, for SP?

    Looking to see the consensus on who is next in line, for poor performance, injury replacement, VV to the bullpen.

  23. Eflin? Did anyone see the lineup for today before the snow/rain out? Who was being benched today?

  24. Good article Jim- it’s interesting, if anyone tried to judge a prospect’s value after three games they’d be regarded as a fool- and rightfully so. But some people don’t have the same concern when it comes to the manager.

    I’m not saying Kapler had a good weekend- he didn’t. And if he manages the first half of the season like he did the first three games, the Phils will have a big problem on their hands.

    But let’s see how this plays out of the course of a few months before we jump to conclusions.

    1. The silver lining as I see it here is that this happened in the first series of the season, not mid July. Somebody above Kapler has the responsibility to address the issues. Salisbury told Mays and Mertides today that there’s quite a bit of head scratching already within the clubhouse. This type of problem doesn’t stay under wraps for long. Kapler will have to respond with actions that speak way louder than his smooth tongue can. Winning may hide some warts for a while but it won’t be sustained if the root causes aren’t dealt with head on. We’ll see how strong bench coach Rob Thomson is in getting through to Gabe, unless he’s part of the problem….

      1. Agreed that this is where Gabe needs to start leaning on his coaches. He DOES have an experienced and highly regarded staff.

      2. Rod Thompson has the history of being one of the best asst coaches in the buisness. A very real manager possibility down the line. Give it a little time if he’s not wining games he’s gone. This seems like a moneyball movie chip.

        1. Tim ……not sure if Thomson, who turns 55 this season, will get that opportunity to be a head coach in the majors, unless Kapler is relieved of his duties.
          Also, he may be the first Canadian born manager. I can’t think of another.

          1. Thompson really is held in high regards around the league. He was in the mix for the Yanks manager last yr. Matt Stairs maybe someday.

          2. I see Dusty Wathan as the heir apparent to Gabe should anything go awry. Remember there were reports the Phils were “zeroing in” on him before Gabe.

  25. Let’s go Nova Nation plus the Flyers are in the playoff picture.

    The minor league seasons will start soon.

  26. I am looking forward to Clearwater starting on Thursday. I am hoping that Haseley and MM start strong, and I think the 2 of them will have big seasons. The SP in AAA and AA is really exciting also,and I have a lot of faith that we will see a number of guys have big seasons.The JUne Draft will be here before we know it.

      1. I’d lean McCalahan over Madrigal, which isn’t to say that i don’t like Madrigal (because I really do). But this team really needs some high end, legit starting pitching. Plus, from what I’ve read, Madrigal seems like he’s pretty much limited to 2B. I know it’s hard to predict a roster 2-3 years down the line, but we still do have 2 MLB starting caliber 2B already.

  27. I expect that there will be some movements in the rotations across all levels in the minors, but my initial observations are:

    a) CLW pitching team – the rotation will get the most attention but the bullpen will be lights out!!

    b) LHPs Jakob Hernandez and David Parkinson – I though both will be given the chance to start in LWD rotation but the pen might be their fastest track to succeed.

    c) Jake Kelzer – MILB says that he is still active but I though he was released. I initially thought that Kelzer has the stuff to be a good back end reliever.

    d) Leonel Aponte – he is finally stateside. I like to hear about him more.

    e) Elniery Garcia – I hope that El Garcia will win the comeback kid award in 2018. He’s only 23 yo and lefty who can throw a CU.

    f) Connor Seabold – the next Tom Eshelman will be the under the radar prospect in the system because of the lack velocity in his FB. But just like Eshelman, he will steadily climb up the ladder without fanfare.

    g) Edgar Garcia – like Seranthony, Edgar can tease you as a starter but he can be a lights out close like Seranthony.

    h) McKenzie Mills – he should be in REA not CLW.

    1. I really like Jake Hernandez. He told me that he worked on dropping a few lbs during the off season, pinpointing his fastball, and throwing his CB faster and sharper. It was easy to see that he was successful in all three endeavors. He keeps his FB low in the zone, and just below. His CB is less 12-to-6. It has sharp glove-side movement with an increase in velocity of about 4 mph to 80 mph. I would think that the disparity between this and his upper 80’s FB has to help more than the slower CB he threw last season. But, I’m sure that the pitching experts here could clear that up for me. I wish his FB was a little quicker. I worry that the jump from GCL to Clearwater night be a bit much, although he did face A+ batters in most of his spring appearances. He struck out better than a batter per inning, but his one mistake was hit hard. Very hard.

      I think you’re right on point regarding Seabold. If he’s a true Eshelman comp, I won’t get to see him very much this season.

      1. As far as I know, nothing significant has been discovered regarding the speed of curves. It’s more about deceptive movement for that pitch. Velocity disparity with the fastball is more important for pitches that follow similar trajectories as the fastball (change, cutter, etc.) because their purpose is to fool a hitter into thinking it’s a fastball until the moment it breaks.

        So it being faster might not really matter that much, but having a sharper bite is certainly a good thing. I don’t see how it can hurt that it gets to its destination in less time to give the hitter a smaller window to react, though.

        1. Dan K, I see. My thinking was that the sharper break with smaller disparity in velo between his FB and CB (88/80 rather than 88/76) might help him as he moved up the organizational ladder. Nobody in the GCL could touch his 12-6 CB. But I figured that as he moved up, better hitters would be able to lay off his CB and sit on his FB. Thank you for your explanation.

      2. I was a little disappointed in my first view of Jake Hernandez. I have no doubt he will get out hitters in the lower minors and maybe even the upper minors, but the day I saw him I thought he did not have the kind of stuff that gets out major league hitters. Just not enough velocity or deception in his fastball to keep hitters honest. Was it a bad day or will he develop additional pitches or more velocity? Who knows? But the stuff I saw just wasn’t good enough (unlike, for instance, Seranthony, who has electric stuff).

  28. Cameron Perkins just cleared waivers with Seattle and went to AAA. Severino Gonzalez spent 1 day with the Marlins and then was DFA’d.

  29. Baseball at times is a funny sport. Bartolo Colon a near 45 yr old pitcher threw 6 ings of 1 run ball tonight. Hes also 280 pds when he retires probably at 87 ish I wonder if he would consider being the Phillies pitching coach.btw it’s 3 am and the Dodgers are still playing .

  30. An oddity of sorts…..trying to figure out how a noted analytical publication like Fangraphs has Doobie’s wRC+ falling each year progressively downward from 2015 of 111 to 2016 of 109 to 100 last year….were league average is 100!
    And he has been rated as a top ten CFer, in many peripheral metrics …both offensively and defensively the past three years.
    If one adheres to the analytics of baseball like Matt Klentak and Gabe the K continue to profess….then Doobie’s standing on the team would be tenuous at best for the future.

    1. That’s music to my ears, Romus. Thank you. And evidence that the league has got the book on him. Can he and will he adjust?

      1. 8mark……..his BABIP each year has fallen, however his ISO has risen.
        And something generic like his BA has also fallen.
        Indicating he is trying to generate more lift and power and less trying to just make contact. HRs and doubles are his objective it would appear.

      2. The problem with Odubel is his mindset and consistency. When Odubel is locked in he’s one hell of a player, both offensively and defensively. He was a 146+ in the second half of last year while playing very good defense. One of the biggest parts of Kapler’s job is to get guys like Odubel and Franco to produce consistently.

    2. The league as a whole has seen an offensive explosion, but CF in particular are pretty weak at the moment. You either have the offense heavy players like Springer or the defense wizards like Hamilton, or some mixture thereof. Doobie, Cain, and Kiermaier are the better-than-average-at-both candidates. There’s very few players who do both above league average at the moment (keep in mind, defensive metrics take more than one season to stabilize).

      And then there’s Trout…

      But anyways, it’s not like he’s getting worse offensively. The league is just upgrading its hitters, essentially. But Doobie is still one of the best when it comes to overall performance in center. There’s a lot of other places the Phils would upgrade first before he has to worry about his job, I would think.

      1. IMO, the time Doobie should begin worrying…..is when Haseley begins ascending.
        Similarly to the Kingery/Hernandez situation.

        1. Could be. And at that time we’ll have reaped the rewards of a fantastic signing and extension. Despite some of his shortcomings, Doobie has been great for this team. Hopefully his replacement can fill his shoes when the time comes.

          I’m hopeful on Haseley, he’s definitely one of the prospects I’ll be keeping an especially close eye on. It’ll be interesting to see his progression versus Moniak’s.

          1. defensive;y, I have to assume Shawn Williams will be rotating Haseley and Moniak this season, at least for the first half, between CF and one of the corner OF positions.

          2. In Baseball Betsy’s video from Friday on Haseley in their final spring tune -up….he definitely shows he has been spending time in the Complex’s weight room this winter, since he looks bigger across the top and shoulders.
            Hopefully it carries over into thei season.

  31. a lot had already been said against Kapler so I will no longer reiterate those observations. McPhail said that the Kapler decision is all on Klentak so he Klentak will be supervising Kapler really close, otherwise, both of them will be gone.

    I believe that Kapler will learn from his early mistakes. Not sure how big is his ego, but his ability to control the clubhouse will be his demise similar to what happened to Chip Kelly,

    1. Klentak is not going to go down with the Kapler ship whether you want him to or not. My view is that GMs typically have about 5 years or so before their jobs may be in jeopardy and they are usually given the opportunity to hire at least two managers. And regardless of what Andy says to the public, his press conferences make it 100 percent clear to me that he is well aware that he is Klentak’s boss and he will make boss decisions whenever he thinks it is appropriate. If Andy wants a manager to go or JM tells Andy he wants a manager to go, he will be gone. Period.

      1. Good leadership exercise culture of accountability. Kapler just didn’t show up in the clubhouse, somebody puts him there. Assuming that Kapler implode ala Chip Kelly and he is the only one fired, it means that JM and McPhail are accountable for it which they will have to explain themselves like Lurie did.

        Anyway, I expect a conversation between Klentak and Kapler over the weekend with Klentak telling Kapler —- “Gabe, you are I bought into this whole analytics thing. We added people and infrastructure to take advantage of this technology. But you don’t need to go full throttle right out of the gate. Sure, you can be bold, but you have to be smart too. It’s 162 games and possibly another 20 games to win it all the way. The priority is to develop our young talent. You can use analytics to develop the young talent and win games.”

  32. The issue with Kapler isn’t that he’s different. I LOVE different. In terms of what Sam Hinkie, Ron Hextall, and Chip Kelly brought to this city, I was all on board with all of them. While the media has been split on Hextall and Hinkie, they were all in on Chip Kelly, as were most of us at the beginning. I think it’s unfair and inaccurate that some media/people are blaming Philly’s criticism of Kapler because he is different. I’m not crazy about all of his ideas, but some of them sound interesting and smart. As several national radio talk show hosts said yesterday, the issues NY is having with Aaron Boone are judgement calls while the issues the Phillies have is of basic competence (as it relates to the pitching change and Florimon).

    Before a game last month in Dunedin, Kapler was signing a ton of autographs along the left field line. I was standing two rows back but could hear the discussions. A woman said to him “I’ve heard all this stuff about you and your approach, but can you simplify for me what your philosophy is in leading this team?” Kapler responded, I thought, very well. He said – “we have analyzed every single aspect of the way the game is played. Running from second to third base, we have researched and analyzed it, and have taught and will coach our players to do it better than anyone else. We will seek every advantage and excel at everything.”

    My first thought was great I love it. My second thought was wow I hope you’re not trying to do too much too soon. Now that we’ve seen him for 3 games, one has to wonder if he’s selling used cars or is he just trying to do so much that he’s failed some of the fundamentals. I hope it’s the latter since that would be correctable.

  33. I’m always looking for a future #3 hitter in our system. (There’s none in Philly either). Our minor league #3 hitters will probably be Pullin, Randolph, Haseley, and Ortiz (with Walding, Tomscha, Hall, and Nieporte at the 4 spot). This is when we need one or more of these guys to step up and have a great year. Our system needs some big bats to be coming up in the future. Will any of these guys make the grade?

    1. Pullin worked on controlling the box during spring training. I have a hunch there will be a big move up on his BB, and drop on his k’s. For whatever reason, people on here don’t see it, but behind Hoskins and maybe Scott, he is the next best hitter. Extra base hitting machine You guys do a lot of complaining about coaches and such, but my eyes tell me that at times you don’t always want to see the obvious. We trade off a SS that wasn’t to bad so we could bring up a young guy that was signed for a bunch One is raking the ball, the other hasn’t found it yet. I hope all the moves that were being clamored for turn out great. I have a hunch that given time these guys will jell and the coaches will just be along for the ride. Give them all time including the skipper. They will find their way just fine.

  34. it is good for Kapler to have confidence in his bullpen, but needs to understand that without Hunter and Neshek, the bullpen is almost unproven with the exception of Hutchinson. I’ve shared my concern about Neris, and Luis Garcia is another experienced bullpen arm who can give you a scare everytime he pitched.

    IMO, if Vinny, Pivetta, Anderson, Morgan, Arano, Hunter, Neshek are the current bullpen, it can be good.

    1. If both Vinny and Pivetta are in the pen, the pen might be better, but the starting rotation will be in trouble, especially with Pivetta gone.

      1. This is actually where we “find out” about guys. If Pivetta and Vinny go to the bullpen, next men up are Eshelman and Hutchison. Later this season, perhaps de los Santos. Velasquez just seems to be static, or consistently inconsistent. Pivetta has shown flashes but strong only once through a lineup. Let’s see how they translate in the pen. A veteran SP will also be targeted at the trade deadline.

        1. Hutchison is a slop ball pitcher. He’s a back end guy – either in the bullpen or in the rotation. He’s fine as a mop up kind of guy, but not much more than that.

        2. Yep, this is where we “find out” about guys which is why Pivetta and Vinny need to remain in the rotation until at least June. After 8-10 starts they will show signs of improvement or they wont.

          If not, then they can be moved to the pen and the next wave of starters get their chance.

    2. What confuses me on this site, is the idea Vinny is a bullpen guy, when he has no control. Good arm. good stuff, not a clue how to pitch. This happens to a lot of pitchers. Pitchers are just so hard to figure. I still would love to see pivetta get the season He has a great arm.

      1. He does have a great arm, but he’s a work in progress too. He needs a dependable third pitch and he needs to hold his velocity better into the middle innings. His FB loses about 3-4 MPH in the middle innings.

      2. Most of the bullpen arms are failed starters. I’ll take the Adam Morgan case as an example. People are ready to throw him under the bus until we was converted to bullpen where the mindset changed resulting to additional velocity and better control of the pitches. Also, bullpen may not require a 3rd pitch so both Vinny and Pivetta will just focus of their FB-CB combo. With the heat in that fastball, they can easily blow the weaker batters with a strict diet of mid to high 90s FB.

        This approach might be effective for Kilome and Anderson too. Although for Anderson, who I like, he has shown an ability to control his pitches and can throw 3-4 pitches for strike – so at 24 yo and another year removed from surgery, he can be a surprise performer in 2018.

      3. rocco…I’d give ViVe until July to ‘get it together’. Then decide whether or not he goes to the pen, or just maybe put him out there for sale.
        Cashman wanted him in Dec 2015 and Klentak beat him to the punch.
        Maybe Cashman still has some desire for his untapped potential.

    3. The rotation lost a potential dependable arm when Eick got hurt. With Vinny and Pivetta moving to the pen, I project Nola, Arrieta, Lively, Eshelman, Hutchinson to be the starter and Hutchinson move back to be the long man if Eickhoff comes back.

      While Esh and Hutchinson don’t have the potential of Vinny and Pivetta, they are proven to pitch thru 5-6 innings. I think offense is good enough to generate an average of 3-4 runs per game. So a starter who can pitch thru 5-6 innings without giving up 3+ runs plus a potential power armed pen, this can result to some wins.

      As I said before, Pivetta and Vinny will not be in the future of the next contending Phillies team (that will be the 2020 Phillies) – which I expect to be consisted of a combination of Nola, Sixto, Medina, Jojo, Ranger, the 2018 Rule 4 1.3 and a top $$ FA with Howard, Gowdy and trade returns from Doobie/Cesar/Eickhoff trades waiting in the high minors. Eshelman and Irvin will serve as insurance is some of the projection did not pan out with Franklyn Kilome and Enyel delos Santos can be a valuable trade pieces for a veteran SP.

        1. Tim…Jose Taveras could have a season long nagging issue….right now a sore shoulder has sidelined him and he is being rested. Hopefully rest will be the answer.

          1. great pitchers suck he really has never had a probelm. Guess a I have to wait for Jo Jo and Ranger.

          2. We will see. If it’s just a strain it might be fine. But if it’s more than that, it’s more likely than not, that he will just drift away into the dust bin of pitching history. Minor leaguers with shoulder problems usually just disappear over time. Remember Shane Watson? Jon Pettibone? What happened to them? Shoulder injuries – that’s what happened. Shoulder injuries for pitchers are perhaps the single worst non-head trauma injuries in baseball and perhaps in all of sports.

            1. Yep….the list is a long one for sure, I also remember LHP Nick Hernandez out of Tennessee about ten years ago, who was high on the radar..

    4. Once Arietta and Eick are here VV and Pivetta become less of an issue. Neither one are a 2 or 3 in a rotation . Maybe VV goes to the Pen first because of his track record . I mean VV has a total of 33 ings in AAA in his career that might be his probelm right there. He still has 3 options left. Pivetta with. His 2 pitch combo is more suited for the BP.

      1. You are assuming Eickhoff can return to his pre-2017 level of effectiveness. Although I like the way he approaches the game, his confidence and mound presence, Eickhoff has had a serious problem the last two years and that’s a significant loss in fastball velocity. If he can sit 91-93, he can probably return to being a decent #3 – but if he’s 88-90, touching 91 and 92, he’s going to have a very tough time of it as he did last year and in ST. He’s a perfect example of how much velocity matters. For most righty pitchers, knowing how to pitch isn’t quite enough, you need some juice. If you’re sitting in the high 80s, its very hard for any righty not turn into Tyler Cloyd. And, no, exceptions like Kyle Hendricks or Marco Estrada – both of whom have unusually deceptive but slow fastballs – do not disprove the general rule. Eickhoff’s fastball is not particularly deceptive.

        1. Even if Eickoff doesn’t there Eshelman,Irvin, The next wave anyone that can get out of the 5th ing with out giving up runs. Both Vinny Velo and Pivetta run up high pitch counts though 5 ings. Corbin on Arizona threw 7 ings of 1 hit ball plus 12 O’s on 98 pitches. Better put Put Ceuto and Nova as slow FB also Colon too . Even Thor had 92 pitches though 4 ings. Movement ,control and command of your pitches is key to success . Kids these see 95 mph FB when there 15 in the AAu summer leagues. These pitchers that do survive on heat alone are giving up Home runs at a record rate. That’s why most of the top rotations in baseball have at least 2 very Good LhP or Korean pitchers. Painting the corners separates the man from the Boys.

  35. I posted a very cool story of Chase Utley being reintroduced to a former cancer patient the other day. Here is the nine minute video of Utley seeing Vorhees’ Devin Smeltzer (now pitching in the Dodgers organization) for anyone interested: http://www.sportsnetla.com/shows/backstagedodgers.1JiZKfIC_kYI
    I have a lot of excitement for this next/new Phillies contending team. Hopefully, this group can match what the 2008 team did both on and off the field.

      1. I remember Smeltzer being a pretty high end prospect out of HS. I wasn’t aware that he was a cancer survivor. Smeltzer (IIRC) became a big story after his juco manager had him throw something like 150 pitches in a juco world series game. The manager was ripped and called abusive by pro scouts.

    1. Going to be tough to match the off field team … I’ll never forget what Chooch did for his friend lost at sea, he literally saved his friends life. This is a great story as well, then you add in what Hamels and the others… pretty tall order, but I’ll
      Be happy if they just genuinely try to. The Ruiz story is one of my personal favorites of all time.

      1. Chooch is the most loveable baseball personality I can recall. Have you ever heard anyone say a bad thing about him? Have you ever seen him do anything on or off the field that was any less than his cheerful, humble best? No – he’s an amazing person as far as I can tell.

    1. Tigers – Shane Mize, RHP
      Giants – Matt Liberatore, LHP
      Phillies – Nick Madrigal, SS
      White Sox – Shane McClanahan, LHP
      Reds – Brad Singer, RHP
      Mets – Ryan Rollison, LHP
      Padres – Brice Turang, SS
      Braves – Ethan Hankins, RHP
      A’s – Travis Swaggerty, OF
      Pirates – Alec Bohm, 3B

      1. Makes no sense.
        The power and rationale of BA’s deductive reasoning escapes me.
        Any three of the pitchers following the third pick of Nick Madrigal would be more logical.

        1. Romus … BPA. Casey Mize is the best prospect in the draft. Madrigal is probably the safest pick/quickest to MLB. I posted earlier in this thread, I would offer Casey Mize more money than the 1-1 slot. Force the Tigers and Giants to have to overpay him. They both have poor farm systems. Maybe they want to use their pool money to sign multiple high end (more expensive) prospects. Then again, they might meet that more than 1-1 slot asking price. Klentak and Almaraz will never know unless they try. IMO, Mize is the best draft eligible pitcher since Stephen Strasburg.
          Strasburg’s soph & junior seasons 206 IP, 126 H, 35 BB, 328 K
          Mize’s soph and junior (to date) seasons 130.2 IP, 91 H, 12 BB, 179 K

          I am a little surprised BA doesn’t have Nolan Gorman in their top 10. Alec Bohm (Wichita State) is gaining momentum. Eric Longenhagen (in today’s chat) said the draft’s top tier is Mize, Madrigal, and Bohm. Tier 2 is made up of Liberatore, Travis Swaggerty, and the rest of the notable college arms.

          1. How are the Phillies going to offer Mize or anyone else above 1-1 asking price after losing round 2 and 3 money? They would then have to take a bunch of 4-year seniors for picks 4-10 to make it work.

            The 1-1 slot value is $8,096,300. The Phillies entire allowance is 8,858,500..

            Hell, the WhiteSox, Reds, Mets, or Padres have a better chance of that strategy than the Phillies do…

            1. I posted above how the Phillies can offer above 1-1 slot. I will copy and paste here …

              Don’t know if anyone posted this yet, but MLB unveiled the bonus slots for this year’s draft. Even though the Phillies have the third overall pick, they have just the 13th largest bonus pool at $8,858,500. This is because they’ve forfeited their second and third round picks for their FA signings and other teams have multiple top two round picks because of Compensatory and competitive balance picks. Here’s a rundown of what the Phillies do and don’t have:
              1-3 is worth $6,947,500
              2nd round (lost to Santana signing) was worth $1,556,100
              3rd round (lost to Arrieta signing) was worth $726,700
              4th round is worth $522,900
              5th round is worth $390,600
              6th round is worth $292,700
              7th round is worth $228,000
              8th round is worth $180,600
              9th round is worth $153,600
              10th round is worth $142,600

              IMO … Klentak should be able to deal for a competitive balance pick. If he acquires just one, it doesn’t matter if it’s a comp A (end of round one) or comp B (end of round two) pick. Either one would amount to the Phillies getting back their third round selection (worth $726,700). Derek Jeter has been practically giving away MLB all stars (for waaay below market value) to save the Marlins money. He would most likely be very eager to hand over his comp B pick if Klentak would eat a bad contract.

              As far as the draft goes, Casey Mize has now established himself as the clear top talent available. His five pitch mix features three plus (or even plus-plus, according to some scouts) offerings. They include his 97 MPH FB, splitter, and cutter. This season Mize has totaled 70 K’s vs just 3 BB’s over 47 IP. Over the past two seasons Mize is 130.2 IP, 179 K’s, 12 BB !!!!! (IMO) He is probably the best pitching prospect to hit the draft since Stephen Stasburg.
              Without a second or third round pick, this draft (for me) is all about that 1-3 selection. With that said, why not go all in on Casey Mize ? I mean offer him more money than what Detroit’s 1-1 is worth ($8,096,300). How would the Phillies do this ? Here’s how:
              1-3 slot ($6,947,500) + 5% overage of total budget ($442,925) + fourth round pick, minus a 50 thousand dollar senior sign ($472,900) + ninth round pick, minus 5 thousand dollar senior sign ($148,600) + tenth round pick, minus 5 thousand senior sign ($137,600) = $8,149,525

              If Johnny Almarez promises Casey Mize $8,149,525, Mize (or really his rep) tells the Tigers he won’t sign for anything less than that. Obviously, Detroit (and SFG at 1-2) will have the means to meet that price, but both of those clubs have bad farm systems and might prefer to spread their bonus pool out to sign multiple high end (more expensive) picks.
              … or maybe Mize has another bout of forearm soreness (like he did last season), and he organically falls to the Phillies at 1-3.

            2. I’m fine with them trading for a Comp B pick to get the 3rd round pick back, but there’s no way I’d want to first trade for a Comp A pick. We’d be trading for a pick worth roughly $1.6-$2M in pool $ for the team trading the pick, yet we’re getting back a pick worth $725K in pool money. That’s just way to much of a gap in value between what the pick is worth to us versus the team trading it.

            3. Really, a one player draft? No thanks. Mize isn’t that can’t miss of a prospect and if he was, no way the two teams drafting above them don’t pay more.

              Elaborate machinations aside, the Phillies aren’t buying the 1st overall pick…

            4. If, after 40 picks, you end up with one TOR starter and 39 other guys who will never amount to anything, (IMO) you’ve had a very good draft. For me, Casey Mize is a TOR starter.
              I’m not saying my idea is a sure bet to work, but if Klentak and Almarez don’t try it, we’ll never know if Detroit and SF match the offer.

          2. Hinkie….i do not believe in BPA….why, because can anyone guarantee Madrigal will be a better player for his career than either McClanahan/Brady or Rolison?

            But like you mention….Gorman should be up there. BA’s logic is puzzling

          3. No nobody thought Bohm could stay at 3rd now he’s showing he can. His power and hitting tool are very high.

            1. Tim….maybe he is the next Troy Glaus….large and can stay at third until he is 30 or 31.
              But we are talking right now….Wichita State college ball in the AAC.
              Lets see how he does professionally later this summer, but specifically in two years with whomever drafts him.

            2. Tim…Cam Perkins was a third baseman at Purdue…..and he was only 210 pounds , but about the same height as Bohm…and the Big Ten is a very good conference

  36. I agree Romus, Madrigal is much farther down my list for the Phils. You can add Hankins and I would take all 4 of them over him. Where is Gorman, Hinkie’s favorite?

    1. Here is Nick Madrigal’s career slash line at Oregon State .370/.428/.519.
      He’s the best pure hitter in the draft. He’s most likely going to be a top 3 pick. I can understand the positional argument. He’s a 2Bman (but has also played SS) and the Phillies have Scott Kingery. However, if you pass him up, you better make sure the pitcher you draft is going to be Aaron Nola-like. The truth of the matter is college bats rise up boards as the draft approaches. Pitchers are always a bigger risk, especially HS arms. I wouldn’t draft Madrigal over Mize, but I would seriously consider him over any of the other pitchers. You pick him, watch him motor thru your farm system, and then figure out what to do with him (move him to another position, move Kingery to another position, trade him). Having said all this, (two months out from the draft) I believe Mize goes to Detroit at 1-1, and Madrigal goes to SFG at 1-2. The question then is do the Phillies pick: McClanahan, Rolison, Gilbert, Singer, Liberatore, Hankins, Gorman, Bohm, or Eirerman ? Or … do they like someone else ? My guess is the Phillies would draft Ryan Rolison, even though I like Gorman or Eierman.

  37. Tonight vs Harvey
    Cesar 2b
    Santana 1b
    Altherr rf
    Hoskins lf
    Herrera cf
    Kingery 3b
    Alfaro c
    Lively p
    Crawford ss

    With 2 consecutive days off, the bullpen should be fresh. Favor from the heavens. Clean slate for Gabe?

    1. hmmmm, i though Franco is crushing Harvey according to analytics. Surprised he is not starting.

      1. Kurdt I am guessing you don’t like analytics. According to the chart, Franco doesn’t do well when the weather is below 50 and cloudy. or if his left toe hurts on Tuesday. I Heard kapler say it in pre game.

        1. rocco……you are always good for a laugh.
          In the words of Henry Hill to Tommy DeVito….”you are a funny guy”

        2. @roccom – i do like analytics. did i mentioned here before that i’m a finance guy so i bleed numbers.

          one thing i can definitely say is i know how to use a combination of stats because that’s how i get paid. and i don’t spit stats to make me sound smart although in our field, putting it in a nice power point presentation with different charts can definitely get some attention from the powers that be.

  38. I am in 8mark, a clean slate for Gabe. I think today’s weather is even worse than yesterday. What a nasty day. Back to the draft. I know all about BPA, but where does Madrigal play on this team? If part of his appeal is closeness to the Majors, don’t the brass have to figure there is no position for him. Then if a SP is even close, or slightly behind Madrigal, doesn’t the need make the Pitcher the BPA for the Phils?

    1. matt13……agree.
      Drafting this high in the draft, separating a supposedly BPA players is virtually impossible and Madrigal’s selection, would put the GM in a precarious position of trying to structure the future with multiple players playing similar positions.
      The surplus could be detrimental…every GM would know the situation.
      So trading, with equitable exchange between the Phillies and another team becomes difficult.
      IMO, pitching would be a the logical selection.

      1. Yes, Klentak can’t get too cute or “smart” drafting 1-3 this year after 2 non-slam dunk 1st rd picks.

        Btw, if Odor continues to struggle with Texas, would Cesar for Hamels whet anyone’s appetite for a trade sooner than later?

        1. If you believe the Phillies can contend for a championship this season (I do not), you may consider that deal. My guess is Jon Daniels would throw Cole Hamels over his shoulders and walk him from Dallas to Philadelphia in order to trade him in for Cesar Hernandez. Klentak would decline.

      2. I’m telling you, you have to be careful drafting for need. There are many stories of teams doing that have gone way wrong. There are also (many more) instances where teams just draft BPA, and things ended up very positive. A recent example is Houston in 2015. The Astros drafted Alex Bregman (SS/2Bman) from LSU with the 1-2 pick, even though they had Carlos Corea and Jose Altuve (both very young players) set in their MIF. Houston could have drafted Dillon Tate, Tyler Jay, or Carson Fulmer (the top 3 arms available that year). They Bregman to 3B. He’s been very good for them. Tate, Jay, Fulmer … not so much.

        Of course, the Portland Trailblazers are the poster child for this. Remember, they drafted Sam Bowie instead of Michael Jordan because they already had Clyde Drexler.

        1. From the Astro example I get the philosophy that drafting position players have more of a success than drafting pitchers.
          pitchers are a very fluid and unpredictable outcome, thus TINSTAAPP.
          Cubs also employ that same methodology under Theo..passing pitchers for position players.
          Then again the Giants took Bumgarner 10th in ’07 and of the eight ‘BPA’s in front of him, only three are significant players the majors…Price, Moustakas, and Wieters.
          But how do we know what teams drafted for need vs BPA?
          Or maybe the other five were need and not BPA draftees.
          That is my point.
          Monday morning QBing will always be 100% accurate.

        2. thats not necessarily a good example. It wasnt just drafting for meed, but moreso because 7 foot athletic centers like Bowie are much harder to find. it’s the same reason the Sixers took a risk on Embiid. If Bowie didnt keep breaking his legs, it wouldnt have worked out so poorly for Portland.

          1. Spin it any way you like, but Portland did draft for need. The reason they picked Sam Bowie in 1984 was because they used their first round choice in 1983 on Clyde Drexler. Drexler played the same position as Michael Jordan. There’s no disputing that. That’s common knowledge.
            As far as the 76ers go … they have definitely drafted BPA. They took centers with 1st round picks in three consecutive drafts: Nerlens Noel (2013), Joel Embiid (2014), and Jahlil Okafor (2015). In retrospect, they weren’t all the correct picks, but they did draft the guy they had rated the highest on their board at the time of their selection.

  39. Do any of you know anything about these four guys who did not show up on any of the rosters for the Phils?

    RHP Kyle Young
    LHP Nick Fanti
    OF Cord Sandberg
    INF Drew Stankiewicz

  40. Critical moment in tonight’s loss to NYM: Stocker made a point of it on radio. Mets batting in 6th inning, shift is on for Bruce. Runner on 1b, no outs. By having Crawford on the right side of 2b, the Phillies forfeited the routine 4-6-3 DP ball – which Bruce hit to Crawford, who had no option but to throw to 1b to get one out. Frazier subsequently knocks in the runner at 2b. Whole complexion of the game hinged on that strategy. This is where analytics loses me. Conceding a scoring position to a runner AND the double play.

    Just had to vent here a little.
    I feel better now. Thanks.

    1. I hear you. But this shifting has been going on for years. Remember the 2009 World Series? Phillies had the shift on against the Yankees, no outs, Johnny Damon on first, and he steals second, and because Pedro Feliz is at Second, he steals Third on the same play. Damon eventually scores the winning run. The problem with analytics in today’s game- it is used as the be all, end all decision maker. Common sense and the eye test are thrown out the window. And Matt Klentak signed us up for a one way ticket to the analytics future.

  41. Do you think we should have trade Doobie BEFORE we announced to the baseball world that he’s now a part time player? Even Altherr (who I really like but is off to a slow start) has played each game so far.

    1. At this point, everybody is a part time player except Hoskins, Santana, and Cesar.

      And Odubel was something like 1-17 against Thor. That’s why he sat.

  42. I foresaw a personality clash between Kapler and Herrera months ago. Another thought is that they’re showcasing Altherr and Hernandez for other teams to consider.

    1. Other teams know who they are, everybody knows everybody and everything these days. Any trades have to help both teams. Young teams want cheap prospects, not these guys. These guys would only be valuable to good teams looking for a boost or needing a player due to an injury.

  43. Klentak’s conservative and analytically inclined mindset will not result to the trade proposals that we are discussing here. Which is exactly my concern that Doobie and Cesar might end up as an expensive bench players for the Phils.

    With deep pockets, playroll flexibility and strong farm, Klentak’s play will be let the better player win the position battles. Klentak may not lose some of the good prospects, but there will be a lot of prospects where he will cut ties for nothing.

  44. Can we stop waxing poetic about Hutchison? He’s a mop up man, a AAAA starter. He shouldn’t be inserted into a tie game in the 6th inning.

      1. Couldn’t say it better myself. Hutchison is a guy you use if you’re down a lot and need to soak up innings or if there’s no one else left but Jake Thompson.

    1. Matt Klentak has brought in numerous fungible arms over the waiver wire these last three years. And possibly the search will continue.

  45. Is anybody concerned about JP? It’s not like he was ripping it in September, but he looks lost at the plate. I’m seeing no power and he’s consistently late on his swings. And his defence has been subpar so far.

    1. I’m concerned because he didn’t show an ability to make contact in September. He only hit .231 with a .300 slugging. He needs to be better.

    2. The trend I notice with him is that he is a slow starter, and he has a longer learning curve than we as fans want to see from him at each level, given the hype on him. Personally, I think he will start becoming the player who he is going to be around the halfway mark of the season. I have no worries he gets there, but it will definitely take longer than we want. Again, mid-season, we should start seeing the real JP, just keep running him out there

    3. No, not yet. He’s struggled before when making the move to the next level and has just 100 professional at-bats so far. I’ll start worrying after several hundred more..

  46. Now that I can finally see JPC live (thanks Facebook), I have to say he looks quite over matched. I know he’s a “slow starter”, but he doesn’t look like a special player to me. Just my opinion.

  47. Hutch walked 2 in the ings the RF was playing so far in I could of hit over him. Besides what the choices Ramos, Milner , Arano again .no Hunter ,no Neshek , no Lieter bad bullpen.

  48. Give JP some time like 100 ATbats. The thing with JP is he’s swing at bad pitches and not walking. He’s skill set was walking with a low k rate. The only other option the Phillies have is Kingery short term until JP finds hi is game.

    1. He has 85 AB’s so far in the majors, hitting .188 with an admittedly decent .320 OBP. I’m hoping he heats up later–and he very well could–but so far he has not inspired a lot of confidence.

  49. None of the younger players have looked good except Kingery . It’s still early so plenty of time.

  50. Of course. I’m not writing him off. Just noting how his hitting doesn’t appear big league ready as of yet.

    John Kruk hinted as much during his broadcast, after the game was over i.e. the Phillies still have a few players–mentioned JPC and Franco by name–who need to prove that they’re going to be long-term pieces. And that working a count and getting walks are nice, but eventually you have to start hitting at a decent clip to justify a spot in a ML lineup.

    I’m not saying Crawford can’t do it. As I said, he has proven to be a slow starter, and could turn it around this time too. But he didn’t pass the eye test for me today. We’ll see what happens with him and the other young, inexperienced players.

    1. Not to pile on, but CSN just posted a game recap. It had this to say about JP and the entire team’s lack of offense: “Shortstop J.P. Crawford is one of several Phillies scuffling in the early going. He was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts. Overall, he is 1 for 15 with five strikeouts and one walk.”

      Getting on base is supposed to be his calling card. He’s got to get those walks up.

      1. He’s not going to walk a lot if he can’t show that he’s able to make good, strong contact. Teams are going to challenge him if they know he can’t hit it.

        1. I realize it’s not a sure thing, but I think after he gets settled in, JP will hit fine. Probably not .300 or anything close, but likely .260-.270 with a high OBP and power that grows over time. But it won’t happen overnight and he absolutely needs those ABs to get adjusted and take his game to the next level.

      2. I’m in agreement with you on JP I noticed it last yr. He needs a high obp to succeed in the Majors. Jp might not hit for a high avg which is ok as long as avg Power and great defense.

      3. way too early to be looking at that stuff. Jose Ramirez had a .957 OPs last year and he’s 1-27 right now.

  51. Pivetta starting the home opener is like saying ” the Phillies are having a BP bad today”.

  52. Last year early I didn’t think JP would ever hit the ball, and then later on he was raking. Rhys was in a slump before he got called up and then he caught fire. Ya just need to give them time. hopefully we are not to far in when they get hot. We all get excited about the long ball hitters, but give me a team full of short outfield ropes any time.

    1. Both teams competing for the WS last year had rosters full of long ball hitters. Just saying.

  53. I was just wondering if anyone has been watching the change in the launch angle with some of the young players? I know that in the offseason we have had players getting some special hit coaching. I have a hunch that they are getting instruction to get the ball up in the air and let the juiced ball carry it out Not just here but across the league. I wonder how long before an adjustment is made to a higher tighter fastball with a good changeup or curve to counter that swing? It could turn out that some of our young arms might play well into that if it is really going on. Any thoughts?

  54. I feel like people laughed at me last year when I said we should look to move JP and keep Galvis (as long as he was in the 8th hole) . . . IMHO he will end up giving a team more than Crawford will end up giving them . . . and if you say “Galvis stinks” well then you pretty much know what I think of Crawford, just don’t see a player who is going to be anything better than below average. He hasn’t hit now for what? 2.5 outta the last 3 years? He just isn’t as good as people made him out to be.

    1. Crawford had an OBP of .356 in his September call-up last year. He was an excellent to above-average hitter every year in the minors with the exception of 2016, and even then he still had a wRC+ (90) that was higher than nearly all of Galvis’ professional seasons, from rookie ball on up. He’s an above average defender at SS with the room to become great. I like Galvis, but getting rid of a talent like Crawford (with so many years of control) and handing him the job (and paying him more money) would be a colossal blunder.

      An earlier poster asked if we should be concerned about Crawford right now. The answer is no. Five games have been played in the cold of the never-ending, Game of Thrones-esque winter of 2018. He’ll be fine.

      1. Crawford’s development is likely to be a slow burn. He may need to sit here and there but I’m not concerned. This seems to be his pattern of growing into his game, especially at the plate.

        1. I am glad a lot of folks are taking the long-view on Crawford. He is not a guy who produces a lot of eye popping plays and he’s not a big strong guy who will drive the ball 470 feet. Crawford is the type of player who is almost below the radar. He’s smooth and reliable in the field and grinds you to death at the plate. I’ve always said that I expect Crawford to evolve as a player over several years. I’ll bet the 2020 Crawford is a lot better than the 2018 Crawford and the 2022 Crawford should be better still.

          And, by the way, while we are talking about the infield, if the team doesn’t get the price it wants for Cesar and Franco continues to struggle, it’s very possible that Kingery spends most of his time at third and fills in elsewhere from time to time – at least for this year.

          The Kingery/Crawford/Franco/Hernandez playing time dilemma is a “good” problem – and not something to worry about when this team has more than its share of real problems.

      1. It’s ridiculous. Trading Galvis in his last pre-FA year and obtaining a really good pitching prospect while JP stepped in was an excellent set of moves. Keeping Galvis is like trying to leave port while still anchored – it really keeps you from going anywhere.

      2. You can laugh if you’d like but again I don’t see what others do in Crawford. And it was a disservice to Galvis hitting him in the 2 hole for 95% of the year last year, he isn’t a top of the line up bat. Put him in the 8th hole, let him play GG caliber D and pop 10-15 HRs outta the 8th hole. Instead you’ll see Crawford in the 7th hole, hit about .230 this year with no power and above average D. You can tout his OBP but if he can’t hit then the walks are going to start to disappear. I hope i’m wrong.
        Also we need/needed more pitching and I would of used him in a package to try to acquire another arm.
        BTW to whoever said he’s hit every year . . . he’s been bad offensively for 2 outta the past 2.5 years . . . like it or not, that’s the truth.

        1. His wRC+ has been above average-to-great year after year. Those numbers are, of course, supported by his OBP, but that is a big part of a hitter’s profile.

          You say his BBs are going to disappear if he doesn’t hit, but then you say he hasn’t hit for three years … and the BBs haven’t gone away. The hit tool isn’t elite, but his approach at the plate is. This isn’t Ben Revere we’re talking about.

          1. 2015 was his last year where he was good at the plate. I have zero issues with anyone disagreeing with me, I’ve been saying this for a few years now and i don’t believe that i’m incorrect. Hope that I am though . . .
            MLB pitchers are different than what he saw in the minors . . if he’s hitting .240 pitchers are going to go after him. Again, hope i’m wrong.

            1. No, 2015 wasn’t the last time he was good at the plate. You can keep saying it for years but it’s still not true.

              In 2016 he was good at Reading (OPS .787) until his move the AAA. In 2017 he was very good from mid-season in AAA until his September call-up (.904 OPS from June 20th when he returned from a week of downtime until call-up). It took him about a year to adjust to AAA ball and it will probably take him the same amount of time to adjust to the majors as well.

              He’s had 100 major league at-bats so far.

            2. .243/.342/.369/.711 2 seasons in AAA.
              and while in Reading he wasn’t tearing the cover off the ball either (and in a park that inflates just about everyone’s numbers). Add in his Sept in Philly and so far this year . . . he hasn’t been good at the plate, period. You can say that you believe in his skill set but lets not act like he’s been tearing the cover off the ball or anything even close to that in the past few years because he hasn’t.

            3. You can choose to ignore that he’s also progress through AA/AAA to the majors during those 2 years as well if you want. I choose to recognized the learning curve associated. I’ll just end by laughing at the reference to his performance so far this year (5 games!!!!)

            4. Well I wouldn’t take much stock in a few games if he wasn’t doing all the same things for how many games during the spring, last sept and the vast majority of the past 2.5 years. We will have to wait and see . . .

        2. @Eric D – hahahahahahaha!!! it’s a good time to pick up on JPC. JPC’s floor is Galvis. So the Galvis trade make sense, and it might be the best trade that Klentak did to date.

          1. I’m telling you I think it is. Enyel’s stuff is nasty. Sure the command will need to be a little better and he’ll need to get some more experience but I like him a lot.

            He’s got the kind of stuff that he can miss over the plate and they still won’t square him up consistently.

  55. Blackmon’s deal seems very low to me, if Harper gets $300 plus Million, wouldn’t Blackmon be next had he gone into FA? He would get a lot more than $106M

    1. My guess is he looked at what happened in the FA market this year and decided not to take any chances.

      1. Good deal for the Rockies and not a horrible deal for Blackmon, who is now set for the rest of his career. Don’t forget that the Rockies could be paying for 2-3 seasons when he has low productivity. He’s already on the older side and the deal goes through his age 37 season.

    2. matt13…Blackmon is 32 years old in July…Harper 26.
      IMO, there in lies the difference in the money.
      Blackmon would 33 years old in his first year of a FA contract…..he gets maybe 4 years max…maybe 3 plus an option.
      Now he gets 6 years.

  56. Sticking with Future Phillies, three games tonight, weather permitting, kick off the season. Suarez at Reading

      1. We will see if Rosso can replicate his performance when he dominated the kids in rookie ball.

  57. The Phillies is the youngest and possibly the team with the most inexperienced players in its roster which mean that these young players don’t have a wide enough database to analyze their performance. I heard that Kapler arranged his line up a week ahead based on pitching match up using database such as IBM Watson and stick to it. So if a batter has a hot hand in the last couple of games, but he is not included in the pre-determined line up the next game, it means he’s out. I mentioned above that Franco had 2 HR at 8 AB with 1.5000 OPS against Matt Harvey, and yet, he sit down in favor of Kingery.

    Similar to a lot of professional sports, baseball is a combination of data, skill and “feel”. For a veteran team, Kapler’s primarily data inclined approach is suited since there’s wide range of data that can be considered and these vets are already done with their development. For a young team like the Phils, opportunity to grow and develop is the utmost importance – these young kids need to be in the field and learn the game from their own success and failures not based on what IBM Watson say.

    This is where Dusty Wathan can help as Dusty managed these young players and developed them as a group that wins together. While Kapler has a better EQ than Chip Kelly since he understands how people reacts to his misses, he needs to develop first as a skipper. I’m worried about Kapler’s lack of “gut feel” about the baseball game because he is too reliant on data analytics. I can see Kapler’s approach working on Fan Duel and fantasy leagues, but he can crash and burn faster than Chip Kelly if he keeps to be robotic. Potential FA’s not only looking for the FO and $$ but also the skipper since they will interact with them on most occasions.

    With the success of the other sports teams and Nova, the Phils can keep something of interest because of Kapler.

    1. Not if he can’t win if in a month The Phillies are no better then they are now . Kapler will get his walking papers. The Phillies don’t have weather on there side either the next few days.

      1. LOL.

        Unless there is a full-blown mutiny or he starts calling MK or JM names, he is not going to get fired in a month, even if he has a hideously bad winning percentage and continues to look foolish. Now, if he looks totally lost by the end of June and the team has checked out – people in the front office might start talking about it, but not until then.

        1. Agreed. How stupid does the FO look if they turn around and fire the guy after 30 games? That would be the one scenario where MK would also be shown the door at the same time.

          Barring a mutiny on the bounty situation, Kapler isn’t going anywhere in 2018 or for the beginning of 2019…

        2. Kapler is a coach by numbers manager is he can’t manager any other way and be successful the Phillies are done.Kapler has limited Manager experience to go on.

          The Phillies spent money on the bullpen to stabilize it which is on the DL . Neshek might not come back. Tommy Hunter is good but is superman.

          Nick Williams and Altherr have looked bad at the plate.
          Herrera who has a great track record is sitting twice.
          Nola there best pitcher by a country mile as of right now.
          The Offense needs to pick up the pitching which it’s not.
          This team is very young could go into a free fall .
          This was MK hire Middleton will step in if the Phillies aren’t winning.

  58. JP has been my favorite player in the system for a while now so my bias here should be obvious to you as I try to defend him.

    -He just turned 23

    -He’s a serious and very thoughtful young man who wants to do well

    -From the time they traded Freddy he knew he was going to be the man that’s a ton of pressure to get off to a good start

    -Listen to him talk about the complexity of these defensive shifts don’t think that doesn’t weigh on the mind of a young middle IF

    -Not sure he’s ever batted 8/9 you definitely get approached differently with a Pitcher hitting behind you than you do at the top of a L/U

    I don’t want to make excuses for him but if nothing else console myself that these are the reasons he might be off to a slow start. That and I’ve seen him do things that I really didn’t when he was in the minors and that’s been chasing pitches out of the zone.

    1. The Phillies were messing with his swing in spring training, which strikes me as the best way to wreck a player’s confidence as he enters his first full season in MLB

  59. Keith Law lists the most prospect loaded minor league teams in an Insider story today http://www.espn.com/blog/keith-law/insider/post?id=8238
    Clearwater makes the list:

    “Clearwater Threshers, high-A, Philadelphia Phillies

    The Phillies will be pretty loaded in High-A and Double-A, at least to start the year, with Low-A Lakewood lagging a bit as they wait for the next wave of international signees to graduate from extended spring training.

    Clearwater will feature the club’s last two first-round picks, center fielders Mickey Moniak and Adam Haseley, which means the two will rotate through center and the corner spots. Their rotation will start out with Sixto Sanchez (No. 23 overall), Adonis Medina (No. 9 in the Phils’ system), McKenzie Mills (acquired for Howie Kendrick) and Connor Seabold (third round, 2017), and they’ll feature infielder Arquimedes Gamboa (signed for $900,000 in 2014) as well. Double-A Reading isn’t too far behind — they’ll have JoJo Romero (No. 59 overall), Ranger Suarez and Franklyn Kilome in their rotation, Seranthony Dominguez in the bullpen, and former first-rounder Cornelius Randolph in left.

  60. As to messing with his swing, it’s probably just a minor adjustment, maybe for balance, or bringing the hands down a little. JP has always had an adjustment period at each level, and I expect him to struggle in April. Definitely keep him in the 8 or 9 hole until he starts hitting, and gets his walks up.
    At the risk of starting a firestorm, I’d like to talk about Franco. When the season ended, I thought most fans were on board with giving Franco another. It seems that, with Klentak adding players, our hopes were raised. With the additions, came many calls for giving up on Franco now, and giving the job to Kingery. I understand that people believe we can contend NOW, and I’m hopeful that we can, but realistically we still need answers.
    I feel that Pivetta, Eickhoff, and Lively will be our 3, 4, and 5 starters behind Nola and Arrieta, but a deal for another quality starter could be made by the deadline. I ‘d like your ideas on what to do with Velasquez. Should they just put him in the bullpen, or send him to Lehigh to learn the ropes.

    1. Considering Velasquez’s upside and stuff, I would prefer to strike a deal sooner than later for a respectable return from a team (Rangers?) looking for a controllable talent who might benefit from a change of scenery. I’m not feeling Vinny in red pinstripes. Plan B would be yes, move him to the pen. He’s 25, not 21. 3rd year in bigs. What do we think is going to change with him anytime soon? Plus his injury history. Sorry, but a judgment call needs to be made while he retains some market value if not much.

      1. You say that, but pitchers are weird as heck. What made anyone think that Jake Arrieta, who had a 7.23 ERA with Baltimore at age 27, or Cliff Lee, who had a 6.28 ERA with Cleveland at age 28 and effectively pitched himself off the team, would end up being Cy Young Award winners? Velasquez has talent.

        1. Forgive me for using the term, Catch – but does Velasquez have the ’emotional intelligence’ of Arrieta or Lee? (Granted, Lee was a bit of a goof but he was confident in his game.)

          1. I don’t know. Also, guys mature. Lee was originally considered ill-tempered. Curt Schilling was unfocused. I think his biggest problem is that he needs an out pitch.

        2. Agree…trading players before they develop and are relatively young is a risk.
          But it is done and at times it has failed and other times the player really never develops into what was expected.
          I am with 8mark on this one…….if by July the Phillies are not in the race, and Velasquez is healthy…..then put him on the market.
          If he appears to have turned it around…..all the better. a more sizable return.
          If he is still a 4 inning/90 pitch pitcher…then selling lower on the return scale.

          1. @romus – risk is a swinging door – it’s a risk that Vinny becomes a later bloomer and it’s also a risk that Vinny will just self destruct, thus, losing the opportunity to acquire some prospects who can be good in the future.

            there’s risk whether you make a move or not. what’s makes business sense is for a team to have a fall back option or Plan B, if the original plan did not pan out as expected. In Vinny’s case, I don’t think that the Phils see him as part of the future since the Phils have a ton of $$ and a stable of arms (who are similar if not better than Vinny) who can cover for Vinny. I don’t think that any person with business sense will question the Phils decided to move on from Vinny. HOU did it and they are one of the better teams who can evaluate talent.

            1. Eick, Eshelman, Irvin ,Santos whoever is doing well in LV . That’s going to be this yr if any young pitcher is doing really good and Vinny Velo is either getting hammered or hurt. The Younger pitcher will advance . Same with Pivetta he has to continue to improve or be replaced.

      1. Alfaro is, to say the least, a work in progress, but his arm and overall athleticism leave him a lot of room (and time) to develop as a catcher AND considering the club’s philosophy on positional flexibility, it’s reasonable to see him in the OF down the road. He’s played 1b and still might from time to time but that doesn’t maximize his arm. And like yesterday, his pirouette moves and mobility merit a nickname like “the Cat”.

  61. Jim
    Love you comments. Cannot get enough. What the”” is going on. Spring training was
    “ what,who, where?. Been to three springs and this one?
    So what is with Clearwater, roster, injury, ?

  62. As per John Stolnis — an anonymous Phillies player says Kapler needs to “get out of the way”…..

    1. the upcoming FA season can be a historic one and the Phils cleaned up their payroll to be a key player in the upcoming FA season. I know that $$ talks, but I hope that this Kapler thing don’t push the big FA players in signing with the Phils. Imagine Harper or Machado not getting regular starts because IBM Watson said so and both Harper and Machado move across the field because Kapler wants positional flexibility.

      I supported Sam Hinkie but he was canned because players/agents/GMs don’t want to deal with him as much as possible.

      1. Sam Hinkie was fired, in large part, because the league all but threatened ownership with sanctions over the tanking unless they hired another person to help “guide” him. Once that person – Jerry Colangelo – was retained, the die was cast. Jerry was going to orchestrate a take-over by his son and that’s precisely what happened. It was actually all fairly Machiavellian and I mean everything – from carpet bag owner Josh Harris (if you think he cares about you Philadelphian, you are sadly mistaken), to tanking Sam Hinkie, to the Colangelo takeover. And, look, I’m not complaining, I’ve got Sixers’ tickets and they are already excellent. It’s a great outcome for the fans. But if you’re looking for a Philadelphia dark empire, it’s the Sixers for sure.

        1. I’ll give Brett Brown some credit – I have a very non-Machiavellian view of him. He seems like a good man and he seems to know what he’s doing too.

        2. @catch – i don’t agree with you. while Hinkie’s tanking is blatant, it is within the rules so NBA can’t sanction the Sixers, but NBA has the power to change the rules, thus, the change in the lottery system of the NBA draft.

          Prior to the 2015 NBA draft, it went out that Porzingis’ agent didn’t let Porzingis to work out for the Sixers because he doesn’t want to deal with Hinkie. Other agents have the same sentiment that’s why Hinkie can’t sign a decent FA during his time.

          This is when Harris steps in and hire Jerry Colangelo in particular because Jerry is heavily involved with Team USA Basketball, thus, maintained good relationship with the key NBA players who are driving the league.

          1. First, let me start by saying that I LIKE Sam Hinkie and thought he did a great job.

            But your view on why they got rid of him is revisionist history. The NBA intervened HEAVILY in the process of getting Sam Hinkie some “supervision.” And I’m sure the threat of sanctions and other reprisals loomed large because the impression (rightly or wrongly) was that the Sixers’ blatant tanking threatened the integrity of the league. Others had tanked, but not so nakedly and persistently (again, not that I’m against that – I loved what he did – but the league clearly, clearly, did not).

            1. catch is correct. NBA was fed up with the tanking (I was all for it). I believe the league came to some sort of secret agreement where Josh Harris agreed to bring in Jerry Calangelo in return for the league kind of greasing the skids for when Harris wants to sell the team. I don’t remember all the details right now, but I know Harris will get some kind of favorable treatment when he eventually sells the club.

            2. Yet baseball lets the florida marlins spend no money And collect all that money as a small market.Why don’t they stop the marlins in baseball. they are a disgrace

            3. Agree with rocco. There is no way MLB should have allowed the Jeter group to buy the Marlins. The new ownership group is more thrifty/poor than the old owner. The Marlins had a really good, young core of positional players already in place. Had they been sold to a respectable ownership group, they could have spent some money on pitching to supplement Stanton, Yelich, Ozuna, Realmuto, Gordon, etc.

            4. Hinkie did it the only way you could. The team had no superstars and the way the league is set up, if you don’t get lucky in the draft with lower picks, you must tank. San Antonio tanked .they let David sit the whole year to get Tim Duncan. Cleveland tank two years for le bron. I believe baseball has to do something with the Yankees. They need a hard cap no going over it unless its your own player. Level the playing field.

    2. Here’s the tweet …

      Let’s play “Guess The Anonymous Player”

      * I’m going to rule out the young players (Kingery, Crawford, Hoskins, Alfaro, Williams, Knapp, Thompson, Lively, Pivetta, Leiter jr, Rios, Milner, Arano)
      * I’m going to rule out the Spanish speaking/primarily Spanish speaking players (Franco, Santana, Hernandez, Florimon, Odubel, Garcia, Neris, Ramos)
      * I’m also going to rule out the bullpen (Hutchinson, Hunter, Neshek, Morgan)
      * I’m also going to rule out the injured (Eickhoff)

      That leaves these suspects:
      Altherr
      Nola
      Velasquez
      Arrieta

      IMO … it’s gotta’ be Jake Arrieta.

      1. it’s gotta be one of the veteran FA – Arrieta, Neshek, Hunter and Santana. They saw a young core, a healthy farm and the ability of the FO to pay. They don’t expect to be in this kind of circus when they signed.

    1. Hah….that is a good sign.
      Can only get better from here, I think.
      Someday he may hear the loudest cheers! 🙂

      1. We’ll see fitting that Doug throws out the first pitch. I hated that guy in his first year.

    1. Romus I still think Pivetta has a good chance of being a good starter. I know its the marlins today, but his stuff is electric.

      1. Love him or hate him, but (and I’ve posted this in the past) RAJ may have pulled off the steal of the century when he flipped Jonathan Papelbon for Nick Pivetta. Between the 95-97 MPH FB, excellent CB, and his improving slider, Pivetta could be a fixture near the top of the Phillies rotation for the next decade. I know he was only facing the Marlins today, but he showed when on, he’s got great “stuff”. Meanwhile, Papelbon’s biggest claim to fame in DC was when he tried to choke out Bryce Harper.

  63. By the way, Alfaro has been working his tail off to improve his plate discipline. Most hitters aren’t talented enough to will themselves into substantially better plate discipline, but Alfaro may be the rare exception and that could be great news because the raw talent is exceptional and I really like this kid a lot. He has a great team-oriented personality from what I can see.

  64. A couple of things from today’s game.
    1. Alf might lead the league in walks if he’s batting in front of the pitcher.
    2. JP is 6 inches away from any pitch he swings at . Also he may have some trouble against LHP.
    3. Keep Franco and Herrera in the lineup.
    4. Pivetta looks great against the Marlins . 3 pitch a slider ? Out of no where he’s Velo stills goes down after the 3rd.
    5. 1st and 3rd 2 out pitcher up you let him bat ? At 86 pitches.thats when you pull him and pitch hit.

    1. http://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/phillies/gabe-kapler-wont-commit-maikel-franco-jp-crawford-even-after-huge-afternoon

      Also, one thing I noticed about Pivetta is the downward plane of all his pitches, and his ability to locate low in the zone. If he can start to locate high in the zone though? Watch out! He could could be dominant. Even more so because of all the “launch angle” (i.e. uppercut) swings pervading the game today.

      Also also, JPC…0 for 4 today and only hit the ball hard once…his last at bat was just painful to watch. JP had actually worked a 2-0 count until the Marlins’ reliever remembered that he can’t hit fastballs, which is when he decided to throw three in a row, right down the middle, missing JP’s bat each time. No change in velocity, no change in eye level, no movement. Just three mid 90’s fastballs and JPC was late on each one. He needs to shorten his swing and have a better idea of what he wants to do up there. Yes, it’s early. But going 1 for 19 is a slump any day of the week, any time of the year.

      1. Yeah whoever that reliever was he was not mid 90’s he was upper 90’s with a few 99’s.

        He pretty much torched every hitter he faced that inning. Cesar walked and that was about it but even the pitches Cesar swung at he was way late on.

        That said the other AB’s were bad. It’s not the swing I remember.

          1. Just being honest my brotha.
            Mean while in San Diego hitting in the 7th and 8th hole . . .
            .333/.429/.482 ; )

  65. And Nick Williams is pissed. Great, let’s hang the banner – “Free Agents – We Do Not Want You”

    1. Nick Williams’ displeasure with his lack of undeserved playing time is not the reason veteran free agents wouldn’t come here. He has no cache, no leverage, no veteran status. He had a decent rookie season, not a great one.

      However, when a veteran (or four) begin to make public comments (anonymously or not), that’s when you know the clubhouse culture has turned sour. Kapler’s top priority right now is to pull the squad together, air out the laundry, and lay out some guidelines. Players want to know their roll. Hell, even Kingery doesn’t know what position he’s playing from one day to the next. His presence alone has given pause to half the position players who wonder each day if he’s gonna play in their stead. We’re only 6 games into the season. And fortunately, Kapler has 156 games to right this ship.

      Good win yesterday. It’s a start. With or without Williams’ endorsement.

      1. agreed, way to early to make comments about FA’s wanting/not wanting to come here…
        i get Williams frustration, but to say what he did shows immaturity. he actually said if he gets a text from Gabe about not playing the next day, he doesnt feel guilty staying up late playing video games?

      2. This is on Klentak and Kapler both. Sending Kingery to AAA was an unacceptable option. Trading Galvis (which I agree was the right move and a good one) has ensured JPC is the everyday SS based on his defense and potential. The outfield already has 5 guys who in a perfect world would play everyday – I’m including Quinn because the only reason he’s in Allentown is there are no at bats on the big club available. So that leaves Kingery eating into those OF ABs or into Franco or Cesar, both of which should be playing every day for different reasons.

        End of the day, regardless of who’s fault this is, having young players feel the way Nick does right now is not good PR or beneficial to their benefit. Nick might be the only one BOLD enough to speak up, but I’m sure other players feel similarly regarding playing time and maybe more so the uncertainty.

        1. The players will adjust just like Javier Baez did when the Cubs signed Zobrist. Playing time is earned. The reason why Williams isn’t playing regularly is because he’s the 4th best outfielder on the roster and he had an AWFUL spring training. He has no room to talk.

          The playing time has been evenly split as far as I can tell. The only three players that haven’t been affected have well established themselves as good players: Hernandez, Santana, and Hoskins.

          The Brewers have a similar problem. I don’t understand what people wanted Klentak to do. If the Brewers couldn’t move one of their better outfielders for a starter what did you want Klentak to do with Williams?

      3. 8mark……Nick has options.
        Would not surprise me if he makes a return visit to LHV if his struggles continue over from ST, for a longer period of time into the regular season.
        Kapler saw evidence of sending down major leaguers in the Dodger org when they sent down the struggling Puig, and he came back better in the long run.
        Klentak missed the boat with Franco last June by not sending him down…..hopefully after yesterday, we will witness a more consistent Franco this year

        1. Perhaps, Romus. But sending Williams down would be the beginning of the end of his tenure in this organization. His maturity level would affect his ability to deal with a demotion. My problem is that Klentak left too many bodies trying to find a seat in this unfortunate game of musical chairs. Where’s the international bonus slot money, the competitive balance pick, or the lower level prospect we should already have by trading from the supposed depth?

          1. Evidently, trading MLB ready youth for potential assets is too much of a risky business.
            I do not see Matt klentak thinking outside the comfort box in that way.
            Coveting and hoarding prospects is also not a long term sound strategy, by rationalizing….”it will work it self out”.
            Got Ben Cherington canned in Boston when owner John Henry said enough is enough and brought in trader Dave.

          2. Klentak can deal for competitive balance picks from now until the day of the draft (June 6). If he wants international money, he should wait for July (the start of the new J2 season). That’s when that money will count towards the next class. I can almost guarantee you he completes a transaction (or two … or three) for international money on July 3rd.

            1. Draft is actually June 4, not June 6. Klentak can deal for competitive balance picks anytime until June 4.

          3. So wait are you saying thu shouldn’t send him down bc he lacks the maturity to handle it?

            1. No. I’m not saying they should OR shouldn’t. But should they, he’s pretty much toast as far as his future with the organization. Doesn’t seem there’s much love for him from Kapler. When you stick Kingery in RF in the 6th game of the season while you have TWO other options who’ve had extensive time their, says a lot. (Altherr has sat only once so far and has struggled.) Nick is looking like the odd man out right now.

            2. Ah ok misunderstood. I was going to say that if being sent down when you haven’t even been up for a full year, ruins your psyche, that says a lot.
              He shouldn’t be kept up bc they fear it might hurt him mentally.

      4. 8mark,

        Agree Kapler needs to get ahold of this situation before it gets out of control.

        In addition to Williams and the anonymous player, Arrieta has publicly challenged Kapler not to pull an Aaron Nola quick-hook on him:

        http://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/phillies/jake-arrieta-ready-sunday-doesnt-want-aaron-nola-treatment

        As for Williams, we all recall two years ago when he had a contentious relationship with the Iron Pigs manager and there was some question about his attitude. He’s got a great, infectious smile that makes you like him, but if he also has an attitude problem he might trade places with Roman Quinn before long.

  66. Speaking of the draft … there’s a great match up of soon to be first round pitchers tonight when Auburn visits Arkansas. Casey Mize (the probable 1-1 pick) will face one of the top offenses in college ball. Arkansas averages eight runs per game and has maybe the best freshman (Heston Kjerstad .400/.493/.700) in the nation. Razorback hurler Blaine Knight will be drafted in the second half of the first round. He has beaten Brady Singer and Ryan Rolison his last two times on the mound.

    Also (this could have a direct effect on the Phillies 1-3 pick) there’s a rumor going around that Casey Mize is pitching with a bad elbow. Keith Law addressed it yesterday in his chat:

    Beth: Is Casey Mize going 1?
    Keith Law: I think he would, today, if his medicals are OK. There is a rumor running around that he’s got an elbow issue, but I don’t really see how anyone could know that since he hasn’t sent medicals to teams yet and the MLB top 200 MRI deal hasn’t happened yet, so if you see people talking about his elbow, bear in mind that it’s not really possible to source that, and it’s either pure speculation or someone trying to talk Mize down.

    .

    Maybe this (whether it’s real or just a planted story) pushes Mize to the Phillies remains to be seen.

    1. Hinkie….well he will fit right in with the Phillies current third baseman on one tool….the run tool with speed.
      He has none.
      Though he is rated faster than Set Beer and Liken baker…both first basemen.
      His power tool though has been rated at 55 or 60.
      And in 575 career collegian PAs…….his K rate is an outstanding 11% for a power guy.
      And so far this season he is at an exceptional 8% Krate.
      BB rate is currently at 18% since they appear to working and pitching around him.
      And for his career it is 10%. Now the conference pitching may not be at the SEC/PAC12/AAC/Big Ten level, but it is still D1.
      So his hit tool should work fine.

      1. No he has a Jenista a top 50 pro prospect on his team . I’m not sure who hits in front of who on WS .

        1. Lineup has had Jenista hitting ahead of Bohm, who hits in the 3-hole.:
          2nd ….CF JENISTA, Greyson
          3rd……3B BOHM, Alec

    2. That’s huge, Hinkie. And if he’s anywhere close to Bryant, we should see him in red pinstripes sometime in ’19?

    3. Hinkie, I just read the attached piece, but where did you see or hear that the Phillies are considering him?

      1. 8mark … the last sentence on Bohm: “Bohm will likely appear within the top five of our forthcoming re-rank of the draft-eligible prospects and is in play as high as the third overall pick from what we’ve gathered so far.”
        The Phillies own the 3rd pick.

  67. Nick Williams hasn’t really had the chance. Altherr and Jp haven’t proformed offensively either . It’s still early so there’s time in a month it might be different.

  68. You know why the Phillies don’t take a pitcher in the 1st Rd ? The Phillies sys may be spent on arms in the LA market. I mean you have Sal A your best scouting there.
    Your future rotation maybe Sixto,Nola,Medina,Jo Jo Romero, Ranger.even your bullpen might still have Heris , SD, Ramos, etc.
    The did spent money last season on 4 or 5 high end pitcher’s.

    1. I don’t see that being a determining factor as to how aggressively the Phillies pursue him. If Franco sustains a resurgence this season, he’ll either stay or be moved likely for starting pitching. If not, Kingery may become your new 3b for the time being until somebody else (say Alec Bohm?) comes along and then Kingery returns to his best fit, 2b. Or Crawford is traded, moved to 3b OR becomes a utility IF. The variables and unknowns (including injuries) make this a very fluid situation.

      My question is this – who do the Phillies prioritize in next winter’s FA quest? Machado or Harper? You can’t assume they’ll sack both.

      1. 8mark, that is a great question. Normally, I’d say pitching, pitching, pitching, but several pitching prospects could be knocking on the door next spring. Signing Harper to an already overcrowded outfield could cause problems. The moment that the Phillies moved Hoskins to left field, I said that they needed to trade one of the other three. The limited playing time is already causing problems. I can’t believe that Klentak couldn’t get a deal done for a starting pitcher by offering Herrera and Hernandez. That’s two everyday players at the top of the lineup for a pitcher who pitches once a week.
        There is a better than 50-50 chance that Franco fails, but for arguments sake, let’s say he puts up a .270 avg, 34 HR, 100 RBI year. Do we still look to replace him? Of course, if he fails miserably, Machado is the top choice,

        1. Mike, plus the FA pitching market next winter is less desirable than this last one. A trade (or trades) is the way to go, both at the upcoming deadline as well as the off season. We should have plenty to deal.

        2. Wawa mike – I’d be pretty happy with Franco with those numbers, considering the SO aren’t way out of control, and respectable OBP. If that was his production for the next few years, it causes some debate. It would muddy the waters, but it would give the FO another direct to rebuild this team for a serious run. I guess they’d have to take a look at what gets them the most return. Does a trade of resurgent Franco get you more than Crawford’s upside? What other prospects do you have to put in to get it done. I’m still leaning for Machado over Harper, I gotta believe that one of the OF prospects can fill out the OF, and trading for a pitcher, with what’s coming up in the pipeline line can fill out the rotation.

          Going to be exciting to see how it all shakes out

          1. Tac3 It will be exciting as long as the front office doesn’t panic. They told us that they’d give Franco a year. Let’s not jump the gun until we know for 100%. Same thing with Velasquez. Let’s be positive before we move him to the bullpen, or demote him to Lehigh.
            Should we trade an outfielder, even if it’s only for a top 10 prospect? Unless an injury occurs (today), or a trade, we’re going to have at least one pissed off player every game (two if Kingery is playing OF).

            1. It is really hard for me to see how this is going to shake out, mainly because the FO is willing to play anyone anywhere. Plus the fact that I’m often wrong, but that is besides the point. Hard to see where this team will go, I will say that I think they have a couple ways to get, personally I’d go Machado with the OF prospects we should have left over after trading for a SP. I can see Harper being a fit too, I’m just going to enjoy it, the rebuild is finishing, even if the record is not what we want this year. I expect next year to be a big jump, record wise. Still think they could make playoffs this year, but it’s no lock obviously m.

              Still need to be patient, let the players develop, Ben Franco and VV, but next year it’s time to cut the undeveloped weight

  69. Kapler’s biggest challenge isn’t dealing with the fans but his own clubhouse. The Cubs were able to manage getting their young players ABs while not playing them every day. The difference, however, is that they were already on the upswing. The Phillies have yet to show they are. Winning drowns out the discontent. But unless the Ws start to accumulate, someone has to address the issue within. And that’s not all Gabe’s fault.

  70. Casry Mize looked good again last night (7 IP, 2 R, 7 H, 1 BB, 7 K), despite losing to Blaine Knight and Arkansas. For the season, Mize has now totaled 77 K’s vs 4 BB. Knight has now beaten Brady Singer, Ryan Rolison, and Casey Mize in his last three starts. One other note from the game: Auburn scored it’s only run on a HR by Phillies 2017 37th round draft pick Edoard Julien, who obviously didn’t sign.

    1. Hinkie…you piqued my interest on Knight from Arkansas.
      From last years scouting report he is “slightly built but an excellent overall athlete….FB 90-94 MPH..touched 96-97….secondary stuff throws- a slider/cutter, curveball, and change-up. The CU was his best pitch as a freshman but the slider/cutter took a large step forward this year (2017); both grade at 55. The curve is just average but a workable fourth pitch which.could improve and he throws all four pitches for strikes, competes well, and has been durable thus far”.

      IMO, Knight’s lean frame leads to concern about future durability His curveball could also use more consistency, and he focused too much on his slider to the detriment of his other pitches. Knight projects as a number three or four starter or perhaps a dynamic relief pitcher if durability becomes an issue. Appears to be a second-round talent.
      MLB has him ranked at 46 in this years draft with the following grades:
      FB: 60 …Sldr: 55 …CB: 50….CU: 50 … Control: 55…. Overall: 50
      If the Philluies are able to ever get a CBA pick…he could be a very serviceable selection.

      1. Romus … Knight (like Sean Hjelle) is probably a nonfactor for the Phillies. Not good enough for 1-3, but way too good for the fourth round (or even third round if Klentak trades for a competitive balance pick). Johnny Almarez really missed out on Knight’s teammate last year. Former Razorback pitcher Trevor Stephan went in the third round to the NYY (nine picks after Connor Seabold). Stephan has been a stud so far for the Yankees http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=663986#/career/R/pitching/2018/ALL

  71. By the time this season is over, it will be clear whether Alther or Williams, or both, should be moved, and I am a JP fan, but if he does not pan out, Machado may be the new SS, and JP part of a big trade. I have always thought of JP as the SS of the future playoff team, but that does not make it happen. I know Middleton goes into next season expecting a Playoff team, and has a burning desire to spend with the big boys, so this year is crucial for a number of guys.

  72. How crazy is it that the Phillies score 19 runs in their first six games … then score 20 in their seventh ???

    1. The Marlins are this season’s cure for the common losing streak. And then we get the Reds for 3 games. Now is the time to make hay, until mid May when the schedule gets tougher.

    1. Tim … Keith Law was out to see one of your faves, Kentucky’s Sean Hjelle. Hjelle is not going to be an option for the Phillies, but here’s Law’s Insider scouting report (just because you like him so much):

      Kentucky right-hander Sean Hjelle is the tallest pitcher I’ve ever personally gone to scout: 6-foot-11, listed at 215 pounds and looking, if anything, lighter than that. The 2017 SEC pitcher of the year doesn’t have huge stuff, but his size gives him a huge advantage over hitters who aren’t used to seeing the ball come from that height or from that close to the plate.

      Hjelle threw seven innings on Friday night, allowing just one unearned run, in the Wildcats’ blowout 14-1 win over South Carolina. He worked with good command of a bunch of average pitches that played up because he’s throwing everything from the second floor. His fastball was 88 mph to 92 mph. And he gets good downhill plane on the pitch, occasionally elevating it to try to miss a bat. His breaking ball is a “slurvy” slider at 78 mph to 83 mph; it was best at the high end of the velocity range, with good tilt, and he seemed to throw it for strikes when he wanted to. He threw some average changeups as well at 79 mph to 82 mph. The Gamecocks’ hitters had no answer for him; he punched out eight and walked none of the 25 batters he faced.

      He’s very slight of build, so there’s some question about whether he’s a starter long term, although I prefer to look at his atypical frame as an advantage because it’s such a unique look for hitters. He’s a little bit cross-body in his delivery, but he didn’t have much trouble getting to his glove side. The lack of a plus pitch really limits his ceiling, but I could see him becoming a league-average starter, given where his command is already and the natural deception he gets from his height. He’s also one of the only college starters this season who hasn’t stumbled at some point this spring, and that should push him into the back of the first round.

  73. Though ViVe threw 98 pitches in 6 innings…..his Game Score last night was a very impressive 65.

  74. I know it’s early but how long does Crawford get before he gets sent down or are they gonna throw him out there all season long no matter his struggles at the plate. It’s not just results that have been alarming, it’s the way he looks at the plate in general. He looks absolutely lost. Also if/when he gets send down do we roll w Pedro F or do they see if Kingery can handle SS. I know he’s not a natural SS but if you are willing to start him out there in multiple games in the first 2 weeks than you should be ok with him playing there consistently.

  75. And btw can the “trade Hernandez” talk stop. I know I’ve been his biggest fan however watch him play! You WANT guys like him on the team, you don’t want to get rid of them. Leads all 2B in walks since the beginning of 2017. He’s an All Star.

    1. In fact…the Three Amigos…..Cesar, Maikel and Doobie …are all having good starts to the season.
      And each has been rumored to be traded a few times over the off-season.

      And with JPC.
      Strange as it appears, his buddy growing up and playing ball together from when they were little guys and all they way up thru HS and AAU ball in souther Calif., and both drafted in the same draft and first round, Dom Smith of the Mets…..both are struggling at the plate.

        1. out of all the elite baseball talent from SoCal, we pick the *relative* bottom of the barrel lol

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