Open Discussion: Week of April 22, 2018

Even after a 1-4 start, the Phillies are 14-7 and have a .667 winning percentage.  Where are all the fans who wanted to fire the manager, GM, and most of the front office now?

The Phillies have 13 wins in their last 16 games.  They are fresh off a 4-game sweep of a 12-6, Pittsburgh Pirates’ team that came to town with a 1.5 game lead in the NL Central Division and leaves town in third place 1.5 games out of first.  It was the Phillies third series sweep of the season.

#Phly Phillies Phly!

The going gets tougher as the Phillies will host another equally hot team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, this week.  Followed by a series with those pesky Atlanta Braves.

The Phillies are seeing more pitches (3426) than any other team in the league.  And even though they rank seventh in plate appearances ( 817), they are seeing the most pitches per at bat (4.193).

Offensively, the Phillies have a slash of .230/.325/.372/.697 which ranks 10th/6th/11th/10th.  They are 11th with 19 HR and have the third most Ks at 211.

Yet, they are third in runs scored (106).  They have the second most walks (98).

The pitching has been carrying the Phillies so far.  Their pitchers have thrown the fewest pitches in the league (3041), walked the second fewest (60), but struck out the fifth fewest (182).

They rank second with a 3.01 ERA, fifth fewest hits (159), second fewest R and ER (74 and 63), fewest HR (12), sixth in batting average against (.226), and second in WHIP (1.14).

Defensively they have committed 18 errors and have the third worst fielding percentage in the league.

Individually, the top 3 hitters are Herrera (.329), Hoskins (.323), and Hernandez (.280). No other position player is hitting above .250, and an alarming number are below the Mendoza line.

I can’t say enough about the pitchers.  With the arrival of Tommy Hunter, no pitcher on the staff has an ERA over 5.00.  Three starters are below .260 and another is below 4.00.

As good as the pitching has been, the one team that is consistently ranked higher than the Phillies is Arizona.  Should be an interesting test this week.

Organizational News and Changes

Tommy Hunter made a couple of rehab appearances and returned to the Phillies. In order to make room, Hoby Milner was optioned to Lehigh Valley.

Spring Training

The Phillies’ XST schedule is available here.

Minor League Report

The GCL Phillies East and West begin their seasons on June 18th and 19th.  I have their preliminary schedules.  You can see them here.

Key Dates:

  • 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

Transactions (recently reported transactions in bold): (40-man stands at 40)

  • 4/22/18–Phillies activate Tommy Hunter from DL
    4/22/18–Phillies option LHP Hoby Milner to Lehigh Valley
    4/21/18–Reading activated LHP Elniery Garcia from the 7-day DL
    4/21/18–Jacob Waguespack assigned to Lehigh Valley from Reading
    4/20/18–Lehigh Valley placed Alexi Amarista on the 7-day DL retro to 4/18/18.
    4/20/18–3B Heiker Meneses assigned to Lehigh Valley from Reading
    4/20/18–Phillies sent RHP Tommy Hunter on a rehab assignment to Reading
    4/20/18–2B Jose Antequera assigned to Reading
    4/19/18–Kevin Markham assigned to Lakewood from Clearwater
    4/19/18–Lakewood placed CF Simon Muzziotti on the 7-day DL. Finger injury
    4/19/18–Ramon Rosso assigned to Williamsport from Lakewood
    4/19/18–Will Stewart assigned to Lakewood from Williamsport
    4/19/18–LF Danny Mayer assigned to Clearwater from GCL Phillies East
    4/19/18–Clearwater placed Edgar Cabral on the 7-day DL retro to 4/17/18
    4/19/18–Jakob Hernandez assigned to Clearwater from Williamsport
    4/18/18–RHP Connor Seabold assigned to Clearwater from Williamsport
    4/18/18–Clearwater placed RHP Alejandro Requena on the 7-day disabled list
    4/17/18–Phillies sent RHP Tommy Hunter on a rehab assignment to Clearwater
    4/17/18–Reading placed Brandon Bednar on the 7-day DL. Lower back strain.
    4/17/18–SS Emmanuel Marrero assigned to Reading from Williamsport
    4/17/18–Rafael Marcano signed as an international FA; assigned to DSL Red
    4/17/18–Carlos Hernandez signed as international FA; assigned to DSL White
    4/16/18–LHP Zach Warren assigned to Lakewood from Williamsport
    4/16/18–3B Cole Stobbe assigned to Williamsport from Lakewood
    4/15/18–Sixto Sanchez transferred from Williamsport to Clearwater
    4/15/18–Rixon Wingrove signed as international FA; assigned to GCL West
  • 4/15/18–Jakob Hernandez assigned to Williamsport from Clearwater
  • 4/15/18–Will Stewart assigned to Williamsport from Lakewood
  • 4/15/18–Connor Brogdon assigned to Lakewood from Williamsport
  • 4/14/18–LHP Zach Warren assigned to Williamsport from Lakewood
  • 4/14/18–LHP Damon Jones assigned to Lakewood from Williamsport
  • 4/14/18–RHP Jacob Waguespack assigned to Reading from Williamsport
  • 4/14/18–SS Emmanuel Marrero assigned to Williamsport from Reading
  • 4/12/18–RHP Connor Seabold assigned to Williamsport from Clearwater
  • 4/12/18–RF Yahir Gurrola assigned to Lakewood from Williamsport
  • 4/12/18–RHP Ismael Cabrera assigned to Clearwater from Williamsport
  • 4/11/18–Lehigh Valley placed RHP Drew Anderson on the 7-day DL retro to 4/8/18. Right forearm strain
  • 4/11/18–Connor Brogdon assigned to Williamsport from Lakewood
  • 4/11/18–Julian Garcia assigned to Lakewood from Williamsport
  • 4/11/18–CF Malvin Matos assigned to Williamsport from Lakewood
  • 4/10/18–RHP Ismael Cabrera assigned to Williamsport from Clearwater
  • 4/10/18–RHP Mauricio Llovera assigned to Clearwater from Williamsport
  • 4/10/18–Ryan Asencio transferred from GCL East to DSL Red
  • 4/10/18–Emiliano Brazano transferred from GCL East to DSL Red
  • 4/10/18–Carlos De La Cruz transferred from GCL East to GCL West
  • 4/10/18–Christopher Duran transferred from GCL East to DSL Red
  • 4/10/18–Juan Geraldo transferred from GCL East to DSL Red
  • 4/10/18–Elias Liriano transferred from GCL East to DSL White
  • 4/10/18–Juan Miranda transferred from GCL East to DSL White
  • 4/9/18–Enyel De Los Santos transferred from Williamsport to Lehigh Valley
  • 4/9/18–Yeison Sanchez transferred from GCL West to DSL Red
  • 4/9/18–Rafi Gonell transferred from DSL White to GCL West
  • The organization’s rosters,
  • The organization’s injury list, and
  • The organization’s Rule 5 eligibility list is up to date.

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

172 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of April 22, 2018

  1. The Phillies are 5-1 thus far in one run games. They’re “finding ways” to win. IMO, it’s been all about their approach and coaching.

    1 The pitching has been effective mostly due to the fact that as major league hitters are trying to lift the ball more now, our pitchers are more aggressive, hitting their spots high in the zone, and with confidence. The bullpen has been able to lock it down for the most part and the starters are getting us deep enough to keep the pen fresh.

    2 While our hitters collectively aren’t putting up an eye popping BA, they are working counts and having quality ABs. Timely hits have been the difference offensively.

    1. …and hopefully Altherr’s 3 knocks yesterday will get him going. We need either him or Williams to own RF. Otherwise, Quinn is just waiting off stage.

        1. His OBP is creeping above .300 and he’s had some very hard hit balls but just not falling. Not too worried yet.

  2. I’m not happy with the way Kapler is handling Franco. This is his make or break season and he has the least starts of all the starters. He should be playing almost daily through June to finally figure him out. Everyone is bonkers on Kingery but has similar numbers

    1. You may be right about Franco but my sense is they (Kapler and the FO) just don’t see him as the future. His traffic light pattern of production continues. STOP-GO-SLOW.

      Kingery will not play much 2b with Cesar around. He will likely sit tomorrow (Tue vs Arizona) since he’s cooled at the plate.

      On another more positive note, when was the last time we had 5 legit all star candidates? Nola, Arrieta, Herrera, Hoskins and CeHe are all making cases.

    2. He’s started 17 of 21 games. That’s enough “regular playing time.” He’s just not a good hitter. Expect less regular playing time going forward. Anyone who tells you they’d rather have Maik in the lineup over Kingery isn’t watching the same games as the rest of us.

  3. The offense isn’t hitting but how much is due to being yanked in and out of the lineup. It’s not the manager’s fault though, he’s working in 11 starters in 8 positions. That’s not easy. Hopefully Santana starts hitting better soon. They wanted to be a high obp team and so far that is working great. Just need a few more hits. Great pitching! Simply great!!

  4. Kapler is managing the team like a true skipper, unlike his 1st week where he’s like playing a video game. This helped the players settle down and understand their roles to play. I don’t want to jinx the team, but the “wild cards” are doing their part that contributes to the recent success and wins.

    1. Not sure I’m ready to grant him “true skipper” status but he’s certainly calmed down a bit from his first week on the job. He still does some strange things from time to time but I expect that’s what he’s going to be… So far… So good…

  5. Unfortunately, Williams is about what I expected so far. He does not have the plate discipline yet to succeed at this level.

  6. So far nice return from Paps’ trade ….also kudos for Ruben on another dividend paying trade.
    And Nick Pivetta over his last four games has an average Game Score of 62.5
    And third in MLB in FIP……bestin the NL among pitchers.
    1. Porcello • BOS1.71
    2. Berrios • MIN1.74
    3. Pivetta • PHI1.76

    1. Romus … absolutely agree. That has a chance of going down as the greatest/one of the greatest trades in Phillies history

      1. Hinkie…Amaro really pulled a ‘rabbit out of its hat’ in his last 18 months on the job with his trades.
        Shame he could not do have done the same level of production from 2012 thru 2015.

      2. One that people really don’t talk about bc so many people disliked him . . . Kevin Stocker for Bobby Abreu. One of the most lopsided trades of all time. Abreu turned into a stud and one of the best in the game. In my opinion, he’s one of the most underrated players of the past 25 years. Take a quick look at his bbref page and you’ll see why I say that. He did EVERYTHING.

        1. That trade came under Ed Wade’s time as GM.
          It seems Amaro got more value for his lesser assets than the big three of Hamels, Rollins and Utley.
          —Hamels now looks to beget only Williams and Alf, and thy have their own issues….doubt Jake T. comes around as expected and Eickhoff still has some work to be done.
          —Rollins beget Eflin, who could be a real fine.
          —Utley beget……….forgetaboutit now

    1. I’m enjoying it, it im still finding it hard to believe they are this good. They are taking care of business against the lower level teams, minus that one Braves series. The sweep of pit was really nice. I’m calming my excitement. This is a freebie year for me, but after this, it’s time to ramp up expectations. I just still feel like the baseball gods are sleeping or something. A lot is going there way

  7. The pitching has been a revelation so far. Starters are getting the job done, and the relievers for the most part are doing their job.Tommy Hunter was just nasty yesterday so he should definitely help.

    The hitting is more dicey. We’ve been getting some timely hits here and there. But the Philies were getting no-hit the last 2 games, and some of the players need to step up.

    1. Their current record is a combination of luck and schedule at this point. As you note, the offense has not been good.

      One thing that is good is the fact that they are both leading the league in pitches taken and fewest pitches thrown. They’ve been moving the roster towards more patient hitters/control pitchers which is showing up in early results.

    1. I can agree with Mike Axisa on four of the five.
      I really do not see Santana reaching the BA/OBP-250/350 this season.
      I am also, at this present moment, not optimistic if he will be a 3WAR player this season. I can see him settling in the 2/2.5WAR area.

  8. I was certainly vocal about yanking Nola in game 1, but never called for Kap to get fired. I have to say that the Phils have been fun to watch, and, so far, have exceeded my overall expectations. There is still a lot of room for the Offense to improve. Altherr’s 3 hits yesterday, I hope, gets him rolling.

    1. matt13…the team slash right now is not good…..230/.325/.372…with only 19HRs.
      They rank 10 or lower in the NL alone….except 6th in OBP in the NL.
      To that end….they are doing well with OBP….but many thanks to Rhys for that.
      The manager’s juggling of the players stifles their abilities to get into any type of rhythm.
      That is something that the media will not bring up…..but innuendos from some of the former players indicate that could be an issue.

      1. The hope is that, much like the Eagles and Sixers of the last year, the development of key young players will allow them to combine some early luck (and there has been a lot of luck, including the luck of the schedule) with some real improvement to result in a team that might contend for a playoff spot in August and September. But for that to happen, some of the younger players whose last names do not start with the letter H are going to have to do some hitting.

        1. Agree.
          Right now Alf/Alt/Williams and even JPC and Kingery have a little too much swing and miss in their hit tool.
          I have faith that both JPC and Kingery will make the necessary adjustments at some point.
          I do not have the same faith in Alf/Alt/Williams…based on their entire minor league resume. Their power is obvious, but their overall hit tool leaves a lot to be desired.

          1. Agreed except Altherr has already had one very good full major league season – not a believer in Williams at all. Alf has serious holes but if he can adjust his upside is substantial.

  9. At some point, Kapler should establish a regular line-up. The constant shifting of Kingery is doing him no good. Altherr and Williams did well last season playing everyday. If Santana does not improve markedly in the next two weeks, it’s time to bring Hoskins back to 1b and let Altherr and Williams fill out the outfield. I would give Franco additional time.If he has regained his long lost form, keep him at 3b. If not, it’s Kingery’s turn.

    1. Okay, you can want this, but it’s not going to happen. And they shouldn’t put Hoskins back at first – he holds his own just fine in left and Santana will produce offense over a long season. Franco is on a short leash and should be – he’s had long enough to prove that he can play so now he has to fight for some playing time. He could still turn it around, but he’s got to prove it and should now be looking at some competition and pressure. I think they are handling this third base issue well for now.

  10. I don’t think Santana sits at all. I know he has hit into bad luck, but he has a solid track record, gets on base, plays an excellent defensive 1st Base, and will be in almost every day. I believe his numbers will be very solid by the end of the year. He was also a big FA signing. No one is sitting him at all.

    1. matt13…..as I posted above….do not see it that way with Santana. He will be serviceable but just do not see the hype that he will be the ‘da man’.
      I think he will be lucky just to reach the BA/OBP-250/350 this season.
      And do not think he will be a 3WAR player this season.
      More like 2/2.5WAR area, which is not superstar but serviceable..
      Is he worth $20M AAV?
      I think he is more of a $15M AAV player now.

      1. I’m surprised Romus I wanted to be positive about Santana but I never got the sign to begin with when they were preaching positional flexibility and not that Rhys has been bad in LF he’s actually been better than I thought but why make that move.

        There were other better moves to be made. Cozart for example is having an equally bad start with the Angels but at least he could play more positions and there is something to be said for keeping a player in the same league. Forget the cost difference.

        As each year passes this FO compiles their resume. You look at the hits and the misses.

        This of course is a bunch of hind sight but then again that’s how you are evaluated in this business.

        All that said Santana is a good enough hitter to still reach 25 HRs and a near 350 OBP. He’s never been much of an average guy so not worried about that.

        1. DMAR…..I hope Santana does live up to his promise, as to what they expected from him. And like you, I was a little puzzled about the deal and the need he would fill.
          Pehaps a part of it it was also to have a good veteran influence on the Latin players like Franco, Herrera, Alfaro and Cesar…I do not know.
          Will just have to see how it all turns out and his signing will be a part of the evaluation criteria with this FO someday.

          1. They are 14-7 without many players contributing on the offensive side, including Santana(who by all accounts has been unlucky). His luck will change, and the younger guys will hopefully make the necessary adjustments as the season moves along.

  11. Romus, I said that I thought Santana would be solid, and I think we both agree. I have no concern that he may be overpaid becuase they have plenty of $, and adding him and Arrieta puts more pressure on the team to accelerate the “process”, no pun intended. I think Santana was a good addition, especially in the having smart ABs area.

  12. Since his disastrous first weekend in Atlanta, Gabe Kapler has been everything Phillies fans could have hoped for. Last night, he became the first Phils’ manager to ever visit Reading for a game. http://www.readingeagle.com/sports/article/phillies-manager-takes-in-fightin-phils-game#.Wt85Kbgu_BQ.twitter
    The story says Kapler went through the Fightins’ clubhouse prior to the game to meet and greet the minor leaguers. He sat behind home plate and didn’t leave until he watched Seranthony (soon to be known as Ser-Ant’ny when he gets to South Philly) Dominguez do his thing.
    From the article: “Dominguez needed just seven pitches to work his way through the sixth inning, and he did it with panache, flashing a 98 mph fastball that he blew past one Rubber Ducks hitter for a strikeout.

    Coincidence or not, Kapler sprang from his seat at the end of the inning, and after Dominguez had left the game. The manager was eastbound in the direction of Philadelphia before Dominquez hit the showers.”

      1. And, yeah, I think he’s our future closer. Hector Neris is okay, but he hasn’t progressed for a little while.

    1. Amazes me every year how the Yankees can sign or in this case , be favorites to sign, so many Latin players in the top 30.
      Them, the Cubs and Dodgers load up their farm systems with multiple top 30 signings.

      1. These orgs not only have deeper pockets and longer arms, but they are willing to flex their muscles and get them hands dirty. the Phils are like those drivers in the interstate who drive in the right lane and hit the cruise control at speed limit.

        1. KuKo….everyone now are wearing the some size jeans….with the bonus allocations for international signings all set to standard the playing field should be equal.
          Now will Klentak make the necessary trades to acquire additional monies?
          So far he has done a little of that.
          But for the most part, he has not kept the same pace with the large market teams.

          1. Klentak will trade excess (non) prospects for international money on July 3. Hopefully, he moves enough to make a run at one of the two Cuban pitchers (especially Osiel Rodriguez) not yet signed.

          2. Then there’s Sal A the Phillies are in the hole so to speak.the Phillies did sign some pitches last yr around 100,000. Also Russo was a nice find.

        2. Bill Giles influence. don’t get commissioner mad. His dad was commissioner and the phillies have always place nice. while the other teams sign the better talent. I hate giles but that’s for another day.

      2. Name recognition matters. The Yankee’s, Dodgers (and to a lesser extent the Cuba) benefit from decades of being premier organizations in Baseball. Most people around the world, even those who are baseball fans, know the names Yankees, Dodgers, Giants, Cubs, etc.

        Phillies, not so much.

        Add in how many Latin American players ending up wearing WS championship apparel from these teams after they lost? Since the losing teams stuff is shipped to Africa, Latin America, etc..

  13. I am impressed with Gabe Kapler’s interviews after the game. He shows genuine concern for his players, a detailed knowledge of the game, a flexibility of approach, and an engaging personality. I know he is trying to figure out where to put Kingery and what to do about the Altherr/Williams situation. I believe, come June, if Santana still mired way below the Mendoza line, he needs to sit. The Phillies need to know, if Williams and Altherr are the future. Playing them everyday is the best way to find out.

    1. I legitimately want to take a screenshot of these comments and the comments from the first week of the season in regards to Kapler. It’s amazing how quickly the narrative changes.

      From a know-it-all, control-freak, guy who needs to prove he’s the smartest in the room, and a manager who was going to run his relievers into the grave; to this.

      Trying to guess what Philly thinks of this guy at the end of the season would be akin to winning the lottery your first time playing.

      1. the comments made towards Kapler in his week 1 are warranted and it is not hard to comprehend. The boo’s that Kapler received probably do him good and he even admitted that he listened and understand where the booing are coming from.

        if the Phils will continue to be relevant and a key play player for this season, the main factor will be the development of the young players in this team not Kapler. Kapler just need to figure out when to get out of the way of his players.

        1. KuKo….I see Kapler’s fingerprints more on the hitters than the pitchers, especially after game one’s decision in Atlanta.
          With the pitchers….point them to the mound and fetch.
          And they have responded.
          Now the bats….the team is ranked 10 or lower in key hitting categories in the NL alone….except OBP…they are 6th.
          And, judging by the team’s overall hitting…he still has room for improvement.

          1. Klentak would serve Kapler big time by simplifying his roster. Depth and flexibility are great, not confusion and double mindedness. Let’s roll the “value in the margins” over into some competitive balance picks and international FA dollars.

        2. Agreed I think Kapler learned pretty quick as Doug Pedersen did. Fans in this town are not passive and if you keep making bone head moves they do have a voice and they will use it.

          Someone once said if you listen to fans too much you’ll find yourself sitting with them and maybe that’s true in other cities or once upon a time but today’s Philly fan is pretty well vested in their sports franchises

          by and large they are an educated fan base and when a coach or manager costs a team a game they will recognize it.

          That’s not just us take a look at what NYC is doing to Stanton right now and we don’t really care much about Boston but the whole Price/Eckersley fiasco last season put that team on its ear.

      2. Has the narrative changed or has Kapler changed his game management after week 1?

        For evidence:
        He’s allowing his starters to stay in the game longer
        He’s remembering to have his reliever warm-up in the bullpen before calling them into the game
        I haven’t seen any OF flip-flopping like they were in ST
        part of the initial reaction came from inside of the clubhouse

        As to the narrative,

        I still think he’s going to burn out the bullpen by over-managing match-ups. Even if the guy is only facing 2 batters at a time, they still have to warm-up.

        I have yet to hear a good explanation for having the pitcher bat 8th in the line-up. He’s not the first and only manager to do this but it seems to be a “smartest guy in the room” move.

        I think that the constant position changes, bouncing guys in/out of the line-up has contributed to their poor defensive measures and also to some of the offensive struggles.

        1. Reasonable assertions about his initial ingame decision making. The awkward silence in a clubhouse does speak louder than boos raining down from above.

          As for the bullpen, the fact that he personally went to see Seranthony tells me they plan to use a gradually changing crew as the season wears on. Gabe was raving about how “filthy” Hoby Milner’s stuff vs lefty bats was at the outset. Now he’s in Lehigh. This may be a cast of cameo players from here on. Neshek will displace somebody at some point. Don’t go buying any Luis Garcia jerseys just yet.

        2. They bat the pitcher 8th, presumably, because computer simulations done using reasonable assumptions indicate that the team is expected to score more runs in those games than if the pitcher batted 9th. That has to be the explanation. What I’m not sure those simulations take into account is the fact that you might have to lift the pitcher earlier from some of those games due to his place in the line-up. Interesting stuff.

            1. I used to think it was dopey when Tony Larussa used to do it and I still think its dopey when we do it.

              Can you show me a string of National League World Series winners or even playoff teams in the last 10 years that made this a common practice?

            2. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, I’m explaining why it’s done. And in terms of finding teams who have done it – it’s not surprising they haven’t – but very few have tried it, so I’m not sure that argument works. People don’t like it because it’s counterintuitive and if it gives an advantage the stats say it’s miniscule at best in most cases.

          1. I know for sure what computer simulations don’t account for and that’s how the human players who are required to execute feel about such decisions. If the players themselves feel it’s dumb well then there goes that

            Humans are complex creatures

            1. DMAR…it has been proven, according to this BP simulation and analysis, that hitting pitchers 8th will produce 0.6 runs more a season! 🙂
              Less than one run over 162 games.

            2. And that’s assuming the pitcher bats all 9 innings which doesn’t happen. So it’s most likely less than 1/2 of a run over 162 games. “Smartest guy in the room” move to me.

            3. To me it depends on who would bat 9th. If Crawford is getting on base OR Roman Quinn is up as a speed threat than I’m ok with it. Otherwise, yes it’s innocuous.

            4. I agree – if you’re theoretically gaining .6 of a run over the season and the players and other coaches think it’s stupid, it’s not worth it. My guess, however, is that the metrics are more nuanced than that and it’s only done when it’s expected to provide more of an advantage than that but still I can’t imagine that the advantage would be significant enough to overcome the consternation of the players.

            5. What surprised me about the ‘pitcher in the 8th hole’….it was a common occurence 100 years ago or so….and remained higher than normal until the 50s/60s when it faded….then LaRussa resurrected it again.
              So it is far from a new innovative thought.

      1. I don’t expect them to win the East or even get close to winning the East. But if they get solid starting pitching for the rest of the year (very possible), they could easily be in the hunt for one of the WC spots – the bar for contention for the 2nd WC spot is usually not that high. Put it this way, if the Phillies play .500 ball from now until the end of August (leaving themselves at 6 games over .500), they would probably wake up on September 1 within a few games of the 2nd WC spot. It’s not farfetched at all.

  14. Big hit for Altherr off Robbie Ray, who has struck out 10 through 4 innings. A good sign for Altherr, but the whole team Ks way too much.

    1. On this… it’s an issue. I know the collective OBP is okay because the walks balance it out, but so many Ks. Kingery and Alfaro two of the biggest culprits. Kingery with the golden sombrero tonight (so far). I know he’s always K’d quite a bit and he’s gotta learn and get through the adjustment period but let’s not have him do it in the 3-hole. Okay Kap?

      1. Ceaser 22 %
        Hoskins 24.1 %
        Santana 15.1
        Altherr 30.1 %
        N Williams 29.4 %
        M Franco 16.9%
        Jp Crawford 26.9 %
        Alfado 43.8 %
        Knapp 35.7 %
        Herrera 17.9 %
        Kingery 26.9 %
        This is before tonight’s game. The Phillies had 16 k’s tonight Zona 12 .
        1 parts of the game were played in a heavy rain. Robbie Ray is a very good at stiking batters out. Zona pitching staff is really good almost everyone in the Bp have sub 2.00 era.
        Kingery is a rookie under 100 at bats . He’s played everywhere but catcher and first. He will adjust his k % though the minor league sys. Here 15.2 % , 12.9 %,his first yr in Reading 21.7 % he 2nd yr in Reading 16.1 %. Last yr in AAA 20.3 ,%.
        Kingery really has had a normal k rate. He flew though the sys being drafted in 2015. See him in 2 yrs if he’s still having trouble. Imo

        1. Tim I don’t know a lot about baseball. But if you cant hit a fastball that’s bad. and so far kingery main trouble is fastball from what I have seen with the naked eye.

          1. No, his main problem is breaking pitches in the dirt. He chases. He’s going to have a learning curve like most young players. This may be a partial consequence of promoting him to the majors before he dominated at AAA. I’m not saying he won’t adjust – I fully expect he will. He’s just going through the necessary growing pains.

            And, oh yeah, I’m hearing less from the Cesar detractors. I wonder why? Oh yeah, maybe it’s because a middle-infielder leadoff men with .418 OBP and above average fielding skills don’t grow on trees. Thank God they didn’t just get rid of him just to make room for Kingery as many here suggested they do. He’s way, way too good for that and he’s one of the main reasons the team has played so well. I don’t know where they’d be now with him, Odubel and Hoskins.

            1. 110% on point with the hernandez comments. I think you and I are his biggest fans. It blows my mind how he gets down played. I’ve just imagine if he could unlock his speed on the bases, he has the speed to steal 30 a year

  15. And we are now starting to see all of Alfaro’s flaws as a hitter showing up, as I suspected they would. His plate discipline and questionable hit tool are killing him. I think, ultimately unless he improves dramatically has hitter, his other tools are so exceptional that he probably will carve out a major league career, but it’s very likely that he is just a back-up catcher with home run power. I expect to see Knapp get more ABs – he’s improved a ton as a catcher, draws walks and shows some flashes as a hitter – we just have to see. He’s had extended stretches where he’s shown what he is capable of as a hitter, but he’s struggled to be consistent at the major league level.

    1. Normally MLB players will produce at a level slightly below what their best minor league career metrics were prior to their promotions to the majors.
      Overtime they may improve for a peak period, and then the age decline comes in.
      Waiting for Alf to get to his peak production period may be a little longer than normal coming…not sure the Phillies will have that patience.
      I suppose letting him hit in the 8th hole can balance out all the low BA/lowOBP, high Krate aspects of his hit tool as long as he shows the power on occasions.
      And also…the bar for catchers’ offensive production is lower than most positions so that is a plus in his favor.

      1. Yeah, but some players have minor league stats that do not translate to major league stats, especially players with poor plate discipline and players with fairly poor hit tools or who cannot lay off certain pitches (Maikel Franco). Hopefully Alfaro adjusts – but it may not be for a while and it may not happen at all.

        1. I agree with you on Knapp…like to see him more at the plate……he gets on base.
          And as a switch hitter gives the manager more options.V
          And on MiLB metrics …Knapps’ 1600 PAs produced a slash of 276/.348/.422 vs Alf’s of 2700PAs and a slash of 262/.321/.427

    2. Knapp also a switch hitting catcher. Alfado had loud tools ,Knapp plays the game better. Alfado still has that arm if he can improve a little bit more he could shut down a teams running game.

  16. Vinny V.
    Two pitches he needs to start to utilize or improve on…CU and 2SMr
    Until this guy can throw an adequate change-up, especially to lefties….he will be a once or twice thru the lineup pitcher.
    His 4SmrFB clocks in at 94-96….his CU clocks in at 88-89…not good, he needs to throw it more and at a lower velo of below 85 mph…at least a 10mph delta has to exist between them.
    The last two years he has thrown less than 8%…so he knows it is not an effective pitch for him.
    And his sinker…..virtually none existent….what gives with that. He has thrown that less than 5% of the time over the last two years.
    A 2Smr sinker he can throw now…..he will need a good off-season to perfect a CU, but then again at age 27 next season….can you teach an old dog new tricks?

    1. You must of been reading some of my tweets last night Romus :). Actually this VV problem has been pretty apparent since we first got him. Those back to back HRs were to lefties hitting sub .200 Avila and Dyson.

      He threw something a couple of times that looked like a split or maybe a CU. it was pretty nasty as it backed up quite a bit to the arm side but it was still too hard of a pitch.

      1. DMAR…we think a like! hah 🙂
        Kap did say something about his excellent 4Smr..and also about his secondary stuff not playing up or something like that.

        i bet if Jim took a poll/survey on here…if VV should be a reliever/closer or a starter…must posters will now say reliever/closer.

        1. I think that’s short-sighted. I’ve seen a lot of progress from VV – he has better command, more poise, changes speeds now (which he never did before), and is developing some neat breaking pitches. He is so much more valuable as a potential #3 starter than he would be as a set-up man (which is where I see him settling in in the pen) – I keep him right where he is for the foreseeable future.

          1. IMO, the foreseeable future is thru his next 15/20 starts.
            Which puts him into August sometime.
            If it is more of what has happened these last two years, even going back to the 2nd half of 2916, then i would make the move.
            His SSS metric as a rookie as a reliever with the Astros, were good…sans BB/9.
            But we will have to see.

            1. Too many variables to predict the future. We’re assuming that Lively gets sent down when Eickhoff returns. Don’t assume anything with Kapler. Who gets sent down if Klentak trades for a starter (Duffy)? Then there are injuries, to which Velasquez is prone to get.

            2. WaWa……I was in on Duffy last year….then the elbow issues occurred in August.
              He has been horrific since….cannot throw strikes anymore.
              FIP- 4.8….WHIP- 1.5…ERA- 5plus
              Unless he turns things around it will be hard for the Royals to get much back in return.

            3. You can only hope 15 to 24 starts since VV did that once in his career.
              1. VV has shown he can’t stay healthy his career high is 133 ings.
              2. The above stat maybe VV probelm not enough reps.
              3. VV if he gets hurt this yr he will be in the Bp next yr.simply someone from AAA will take his spot.

        2. I don’t think VV can be a closer and as Catch says below its still too early to make that move but out of curiosity I looked up some splits to see how other RHP’s fair against LHB historically

          Mariano .209 BA against .524 OPS (He had that nasty cutter)
          Hoffman .219 BA against .629 OPS (He had that nasty CU)
          Smith .240 BA against .668 OPS (He had that nasty slider)
          Scherzer.246 BA against .724 OPS (Solid 4 pitch mix)
          Arrieta .229 BA against .687 OPS (Solid 2 seam and back foot slider)
          VV .266 BA against .784 OPS (????)

          Pivetta .229 BA against .694 OPS

        3. Same poll would have majority putting Pivetta in the bullpen too. Team and fans need to be patient as guys learn how to play baseball in the major leagues…

  17. The 2 HRs were on breaking pitches, if I am not mistaken, that he does not have great command of. With his arm you would think he could be taught a split or cut FB to augment his heat. His CU is just not very good.

    1. Yeah, agree that so far VV’s curve is kind of a mediocre pitch. His change is developing and the slide is fine. Also mixes 2 and 4 seam FBs well. He’s come a long way.

  18. Haseley with a couple of doubles in the 1st game today. His bat has been coming around the last week or so. Moniak with a couple of knocks too. Seems like moving him out of the leadoff spot may have let him relax a bit.

      1. I know – right??

        Look, Walding has taken his prospect status way farther than it every appeared he would. And if you’ve seen him in person he’s impressive – good athlete, strapping, beautiful swing. He really hung in there and nobody knows if he’s done improving. Good for him!!!

  19. Looks like Fansgraph’s Eric Longenhagen likes De Los Santos a little:
    bILLY:
    Has Enyel De Los Santos had his stuff tick up or is he just going through a SSS hot streak? 36.1% in AAA is way above what he’s posted at any other level.
    Eric A Longenhagen:
    Stuff doesn’t sound different than last year, but I agree that he’s pretty good.

  20. Wait a minute baseball world going upside down. Phillies still winning ,Could the Phillies win the East ?
    1. Martz, Harvey , Wheeler are all now hittable . Mets start going in 2017 tailspin.
    2. The Nats can’t out hit there bullpen this yr . Zimmerman back to mortal status.
    3. The Braves can beat the Phillies but no one else.
    4. Maimi good enough to beat the Dodgers twice .

  21. The Nats are out of the playoffs by the all Star break. They become sellers Harper on the block. Phillies offer …….…

  22. With the Orioles horrible start, and little likelihood of that changing – the “Free Manny” movement will gain traction. I know this is blasphemy, but does it make sense to trade for him now to bring him in house – to show him the Phils chemistry etc.and give the team a better chance of keeping him ? Imagine placing him on the left side of this infield !!!! That would be truly frightening. And/Or do you trade for him now – make every effort to sign him with a 300 mm contract for 7 years etc.???? or whatever it takes…..even though he is not apt to take it. The one piece that continues to not work is the 3B man.

    Hinkie can propose a deal for Manny, international $$ etc.

    1. In theory it might make sense to the O’s and their potential trade partner, but I’m not sure about Machado and his agent. Unless he’s already sold on a destination. Way too many variables and parties needed to agree. I see a trade for all they can get. Baltimore hasn’t impressed me as a savvy front office.

      1. I would lean towards a more under the radar move for someone like Nick Castellanos.

        I mean would I want Manny (in a vacuum) of course I would but first you have to tell me what it’s going to cost me in prospects…is it for just this year or do I know he wants to sign long term.

        1. DMAR….Castellanos is no longer a third baseman after last years struggles there ….playing corner OF for the Tigers now.

    2. Tim … why would Manny Machado limit his potential earnings by agreeing to a sign and trade deal ? What player would choose to negotiate with one team when he can wait six months and negotiate with every team.
      Yes. Manny Machado is going to be traded this summer. The Phillies could certainly be among the teams most interested in acquiring him. What would roughly ten weeks of MM be worth to the Phillies depends on where the team sits in the standings at the time of the potential deal. Machado would be worth more if the Phillies are contending for the division title … and less if they are contending for a WC spot.
      Last summer, the Dodgers sent Willie Calhoun, AJ Alexy, and Brendon Davis to the Rangers for two months of Yu Darvish. Calhoun was a top five player in the Dodgers organization (although, he , Alexy was a top 30 organizational prospect, and Davis was a non-prospect (lottery ticket is probably too positive a description).
      Manny Machado should cost more than Darvish if for no other reason than Machado is in the lineup every day instead of every fifth day. If things remain the way they are now (Phillies a half-game out of first), a fair offer would be Franklyn Kilome, Arquimedes Gamboa, and Malvin Matos for Manny Machado. This deal would also save the Phillies their 2019 second round draft pick (when they re-sign Machado after this season.

      1. Hinkie….Angelos would probably balk at that offer of what they would consider two tier one or two prospects and one lottery prospect
        IMO, you would have to start with Kilome, but then go to either Haseley or Moniak and then Franco or Kingery. .
        Machado is a generational talent…and MacPhail will give up more than we would like, in order to get him back under his control again

        1. Romus … yes, Manny Machado is a generational talent, but you’re only trading for ten weeks of his generational talent. Also, is there really a difference between Gamboa, Moniak, and Haseley ? If Duquette prefers Moniak or Haeley, that’s fine with me.
          Therre’s no way Baltimore is getting Kingery (or another team’s version of Kingery) for two and a half months of MM.
          Finally, I’m not sure if the O’s are ok with an all out rebuild, or if they’ll be looking for a quicker turnaround. If it’s the latter, then Franco could be an option. For me, I fair deal would be Franco and a lottery ticket for Machado.

          1. Yeah…i think Franco would be on their list to get a MLB player right now with some youth and potential.
            A pitcher for sure also.
            They will ask for Sixto…..but better be prepared for anyway else but him.
            And as for Haseley or Moniak….that first round reputation would probably be something to their liking, and they are really far from considered failed picks at this point..

          2. Any GM who will talk to Klentak for a trade will start with Sixto and/or Kingery and that is expected. I’ve been saying this all the time that the “market” dictates the trade value. if a GM of a contending team relies on winning the WS to save his job, this this drive the price for Machado or any marquee players at the trade deadline. If GMs stays put and protect their top prospects, the O’s might just take the best offer available rather than lose Machado for a comp pick after the season.

          3. Let’s not forget Machado wants to play SS. I’m not sure Jp has alot of trade value right now.moving Franco and putting Jp bat at 3 Rd isn’t going to win you a wild card this yr.

  23. With the possible exception of the Phillies, there are no real surprises in the divisional races. No 2nd division teams playing over their heads in April. Nats, Cubs and LAD have sputtered early but they certainly haven’t buried themselves. Contending clubs will likely move with more urgency now that the races are taking shape sooner than usual. Gonna be interesting….

    1. i don’t know the writer, but i have the same thought process as written in the article. the Phils will be a key player this coming FA season and I expect them to land one of the premier FA and another FA that remains available after all the dust clears.

      the City of Philadelphia will be in the national and international consciousness in the next coming years and the players and owners know it. National coverage means $$.

      1. If I’m Klentak and Machado doesn’t agree to talk extension + trade, I offer Franco and 2 good prospects (perhaps an OF and a pitcher). Otherwise I see no point in not waiting until he’s on the FA market.

  24. After today’s Facebook game , the Phillies will have one more scheduled for them this season:
    Thu, May 10 1:05 pm SF Giants vs Phila Phillies

      1. Future FB games:
        Wed, May 30 1:10 pm St. Louis Cardinals- Milwaukee Brewers
        Wed, Jun 13 4:10 pm Los Angeles Angels-Seattle Mariners
        Wed, Jun 6 3:45 pm Arizona Diamondbacks-San Francisco Giants

        Thu, May 3 3:40 pm Los Angeles Dodgers-Arizona Diamondbacks
        Wed, May 16 3:40 pm Texas Rangers-Seattle Mariners
        Wed, Jun 20 12:37 pm Atlanta Braves -Toronto Blue Jays
        Thu, May 10 1:05 pm San Francisco GiantsPhiladelphia Phillies
        Thu, May 24 12:37 pm Los Angeles Angels-Toronto Blue Jays

        …notice no Yankees or Red Sox telecasts over the Zuck Network

  25. I believe the #5 tryouts will begin in earnest. Lively has not impressed and had little margin for error to begin with. Eickhoff will back but who knows how enamored the new blood staff will be if he doesn’t start off well. Eflin waits in the wings as well but my dark horse is De Los Santos by season’s end.

    1. Anderson’s injury is a bummer. He is actually my dark horse this season as I expect him to pitch his way to the Phillies and blow everybody all the way back to the Delaware River.

      Eshelman is not pitching well yet so Eflin might get the call. I don’t expect to see Enyel in red pin stripes until after the trade deadline as he can be part of a trade package.

    2. Eflin is going to get first crack at it. He’s the most experienced, he’s not sucking that bad at AAA, and he’s on the 40 man roster.

      Enyel is not on the 40 man roster, but that’s not a problem. Jake Thompson can get DFAd.

  26. Real tough outing today for Ben. He was really hit hard from the jump. Does anyone know when Eickhoff is due to be eligible for a rehab assignment?. I figure a couple of outings there before he can be activated.

    1. It has already been stated that Eickhoff won’t be back until late May. He needs to build his arm strength. Best case, he’s in Clearwater late next week.

  27. So Lively will get until then to show that he belongs. Eickhoff will be back in the rotation as soon as he is healthy.

    1. If Lively continues to pitch the way he has of late, I don’t see Gabe letting him be the #5 beyond 2 more starts. Hutchison can fill in until Eickhoff returns.

  28. The Facebook game are some BS. And I think we have 2 more left. Seems like we are playing the most games on FB outta any team.

    VV should get the full season before thinking of putting him in the pen. I feel like there’s been improvements.

    The positive about Knapp are kinda surprising. On twitter today I saw a few people talking about how bad his defense is. One saying that it may be the worst in Baseball.

    Crawford still sucks.

    Hernandez continues to impress.

    Kingery . . . 🤷🏼‍♂️

  29. Lively on DL. Thompson back up, but I would think that Hutchison would get the start, and Thompson goes to ‘Pen?

    1. Not sure what’s going to happen. I don’t think Hutchison is stretched out. It’s possible that Thompson goes back down for Zach Eflin.

  30. I hope the “Trade Odubel” contingent finally relents and recognizes the gem of a CF we have after the performance he’s putting on right now.

    1. Well from this site most wanted us to get rid of Cesar and Herrera. Cause we have babe ruth in kingery and a ton of outfield who are better than Herrera. I have fought for cesar and know in my heart he is a really good and improving player. not a power guy but obp is getting so good. works the count. just wish he stole more bases. I haven’t seen a lot of Alfaro but that homerun last night was impressive imo. He really does have some power, I never knew that kind of power. Nola is making a lier out of me, I thought a three but he is pitching better than that right now .In the seventh he threw a 93 mph fast ball, that to me is a big improvement it was his 93 pitch I believe. to have that velo in the seventh after 90 pitches is really good.

      1. rocco…glad to see you are coming around on Nola.
        Going back his last 24 starts (back into 2017)…he has had only three Game Scores less than 50 and 15 with 60 or better.
        That is close to a TOR or even an ace.

      2. roccom – I was in favor of trading Cesar OR Herrera. At the time it didn’t appear that we would sign Arrieta, and we already had a crowded outfield. I was looking to trade value for value. I never wanted to “get rid” of either.

      3. I’m in tears Roccum sees the light Nola has some of the best movement of all his . Nola command &control Is becoming elite.

  31. How about those Phillies almost in first. They need Zona to sweep the nats. The Mets schedule is much harder in June , July then it is now.

    1. Tim…have you also looked at the Phillies’ schedule for June and July?
      No walk in the park.
      In June alone….Cubc, Rockies, Yankees, Cardinals and Nats…..all pushovers! 🙂

        1. Romus I think I am ready to give up on franco. I think he has a ton of talent. but he just keeps doing the same thing, Pulling his head away from right handers. pulls off the ball. Maybe another hitting coach can get thru to him.

          1. Amen….he may be walking the Phillies plank..
            Cannot believe he is the same player from those years in ’12-’14 @Lwd. CLW, Reading and LHV. Though should have realized the low delta between his BA and OBP would be a detrimental facto going forward…..but he always had a low K rate which I thought was promising.
            I still remember KLaw’s assessment 4 years ago….doubted his potential based on an arm-bar swing.

            That’s two strikes against me…first strike was Dom Brown…now Maikel Franco appears to be strike two.

            1. Imo the difference if Franco is way more talented then brown. Franco has all the tools to be a great player. but he just doesn’t get it, maybe language barrier. I am not sure. or the hitting coach we have cant get thru to him. but he is not going to make it here with that hitting approach. Watch how different he is with a left hand pitcher, compared to right its a big difference. I Would love to see him change his feet, turn them more toward the plate. against right handers to stay in there, instead of pulling away. He swings and his head is flying , feet are moving towards third as he pulls away. terrible way to try and hit.

            2. rocco….Latin players on a whole have been conditioned since their youth to be free swingers…generally not taking many walks, but still making good contact and thus have lower K rates for the power they may have.
              Phillies were bless with the best Latin born BB king…Bobby Abreu.
              and now have the third best active Latin born player for BB generation in Carlos Santana….he is only behind power guys Adrian Beltre and Edwin Encanacion…who have more years on him in the majors.
              Franco…….just does not seem to get it.
              Cesar and Doobie also draw fewer than the normal BBs but can make good contact by squaring up the ball….and Doobie swings at just as many out-of-the-zone pitches as Franco.
              Whether it is his stance or his mental approach…who knows.
              But he may have to find it with another team in 2019.

  32. Romus, 3 strikes is only 1 out, and you get 27 for a Ballgame. So, keep swinging. I bet your Average is among the league leaders!

  33. Didn’t “see” the Braves/Phils… just the box score, but was pleased to see J Biddle do well, though unfortunately against the Phils. Triumph for perserverence!

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