There still seems to be no necessity for me to recap the past week. The over 300 comments indicate that you are perfectly able to generate discussion without me stirring the pot.
This is the Phuture Phillies Open Discussion for Phillies and MLB baseball topics.
Okay, I lied.
I’m sure in a few weeks people will come to embrace the 14-game improvement the Phillies made over the 2017 season. Among my friends and in a a pre-season poll (Winkelman, I think) I predicted a 15% increase in victories from 66 to 76. I thought that was a reasonable advance as the Phillies approached playoff contention in 2019-20. (In fact, I think I also guessed 2020 would be the likely season for the Phillies to realistically contend for a division title.) When I respond to any of these polls, I usually write a corresponding article for Phuture Phillies, so I’m sure that my prognostications are here somewhere. Ironically, 76 wins is the Pythagorean W-L for a team that scored 51 runs less that it allowed this season.
I did not allow the strong finish in 2017 influence me. I did not make the type of assessments that I made when I was in grade school where I anticipated career years out of everyone. Or every trade for every player I wanted to be fulfilled. I made what I considered to be a cold, calculated estimation of the 2018 team’s potential. And was wrong for four months.
Yes, the final two months of the season are disappointing whether you felt the Phillies were going to struggle to a .500 record or whether you expected a playoff appearance. A lot of people thought that this would be a season to see what our first wave of prospects could do, so that we would know what had to be tweaked for the 2019 season. (I understand that some feel more than tweaking is necessary, but tweak was an acceptable pre-2018 season term.)
I think we and the Phillies learned a lot. And I’m sure the Phillies learned more than we did.
- Aaron Nola is a true Ace. Regular readers know that I subscribe to a narrow definition for Ace/#1. So. if I’m going to throw that out there, then I think he is among the top 10-12 pitchers in all of baseball. But please don’t go into next season expecting the same performance. I’m not saying he won’t or can’t be the same or better, but don’t go all “he’s a bust” if he suffers any slight regression.
- Jake Arrieta may not have performed up to his contract, and you all know my position on his signing last off season, but he pitched well for four months and provided the intangibles that a young pitching staff needs. In fact, Arrieta’s WAR increased from 1.9 in 2017 to 2.9 in 2018. Not sexy, but at $9M per WAR win, he’s only “stealing” $3M, and that is surely covered by the intangibles. And his flagging FB was also better this year. His recent year-to-year decline had his FB at 92.2 mph in 2017. It was at 93 mph in 2018. A small increase, but one I have to acknowledge.
- Pivetta, Velasquez, and Eflin pitched enough for the Phillies to know what they have. All three exceeded career highs in innings pitched (maybe part of the reason for the late season collapse?). All had ERAs under 5.00 (4.36 – 4.85). Two struck out at least one batter per inning pitched, and Eflin fell 5 short of matching that feat. All three had a FIP under 4.00 (3.76 – 3.80). Pivetta and Eflin posted BB9 below 3.0 (2.8 and 2.6). By contrast, Nola posted a 2.5 BB9. Pivetta (10.3) and Velasquez (9.9) posted SO9 higher than Nola’s 9.5 SO9. And, all three posted WHIPs below 1.400 (1.305 – 1.343). The five pitchers I have mentioned so far started 150 of the Phillies 162 games. The remaining 12 games were started by Lively (5), Suarez (3), De Los Santos (2), Anderson (1) and Eickhoff (1). (And, Eickhoff should return healthy next season.)
- Seranthony Dominguez showed he can pitch at the back end of a bullpen. He started the season in AA and only made three AAA appearances before being called up to the majors. At the conclusion of Clearwater’s 2017 season, Dominguez was still a starter. He should benefit from an off season of preparing to pitch as a reliever.
- The rest of the bullpen probably showed enough of who they are to help the FO to make decisions this off-season.
- Offensively, we all learned a lot about the Phillies position players. Defensively, too. The Phillies also learned about the maturity of some of their young players. I think we all expect changes. I suspect that the changes I envision are quite different than most of yours. Take a look at who played and where the last seven games of the season after the Phillies were eliminated from division contention. I think I can speculate who starts 2019 and where if Machado is signed and if he is not. Take a gander at the last seven games –
- Hernandez 7 starts at second
- Santana 7 starts at third
- Herrera 6 starts at corner OF
- Hoskins 6 starts at first, one in LF
- Ramos 2 starts at catcher, 2 PH
- Altherr 1 start in LF (then injured)
- Kingery 7 starts at SS
- Quinn 7 starts in CF
- Knapp 4 starts at catcher, 2 more as defensive replacement
- Cozens 4 starts in LF, 3 more as defensive replacement
- Walding 1 PH, 1 defensive replacement at third
- Bour 4 PH, and 1 start at first
- Bautista 2 starts in RF, 2 PH, 3 defensive replacement in RF
- Crawford 3 PH
- Alfaro 1 start at catcher
- Florimon 3 PH, 2 defensive replacement at second and in RF
- Williams 3 as a pinch runner
With the end of the Phillies and minor league seasons, off season programming has commenced. I’ve already posted the results of the first post season polls. The second round of polls has posted. I’m still collecting your post-season top thirties. (E-mail your personal season-ending top 30 to me at prospectpoll @yahoo.com, I will compile and report back, IF I got enough responses to make it worthwhile. I’ve received seven.)
I’ve begun the Key Dates section (below). It includes transactional dates, contract dates, dates dependent on the end of the world series, dates that haven’t been announced yet, and spring training and Instructs game dates.
Rosters and Lists have been moved over from the Recaps as well as Transactions. I’m thinking about adding the links to my Rosters and Lists to the menu bar above. I’m also considering an overhaul of the menu bar as well as changing the banner photo back to the original since all the guys depicted have moved up or on.
I’ll revive the Organizational Changes section to follow the myriad of changes expected during the off season. I’ll do not quite daily reports from Instructs for the next three weeks. And, I may do something with the winter leagues.
I pulled the breakout players post and I expect to do an article on how that went. I’ve also posted a 40-man roster article that includes free agency, Rule 5 eligibility, and remaining options.
And then, right after Christmas, I’ll start our annual Readers’ Top 30.
Key Dates (some dates become set with the conclusion of the World Series):
- October 1 – at Pittsburgh
- October 2 – v. Baltimore
- October 3 – Camp Day
- October 4 – at Baltimore
- October 5 – v. Atlanta
- October 6 – v. Baltimore
- October 7 – Sunday Off Day
- October 8 – at Atlanta
- October 9 – v. New York
- October 9 – Arizona Fall League Starts
- October 10 – Camp Day
- October 11 – at New York
- October 12 – v. New York
- October 12, 2018 – Opening Day for the Mexican Winter League (MPL)
- October 12, 2018 – Opening Day for the Venezuelan Winter League (LVBP)
- October 13, 2018 – Opening Day for the Dominican Winter League (LIDOM)
- October 22, 2018 – Opening Day for the Nicaraguan Winter League (LNBP)
- October 15, 2017 or on the fifth day following the last day of the World Series, whichever is later, of the last year of a player’s Minor League Uniform Player Contract, the player’s Minor League Uniform Player Contract shall expire and the player shall become a ‘Minor League free agent’ unless the player’s Major or Minor League club has remaining options to renew the contract. (Major League Rule 55)
- According to Major League Rule 3(b), “All Minor League Uniform Player Contracts between either a Major or a Minor League Club and a player who has not previously signed a contract with a Major or a Minor League Club shall be for a term of seven Minor League playing seasons.”
- The day after the last game of the World Series, 9:00 AM – “Following the completion of the term of his Uniform Player’s Contract, any Player with 6 or more years of Major League service who has not executed a contract for the next succeeding season shall become a free agent.” Organizations began an exclusive five-day negotiation window (referred to as “the quiet period” in the CBA) with their own free agents. During “the quiet period” any Club representative and any free agent or his representative may talk with each other and discuss the merits of the free agent contracting, when eligible; provided that the Club and the free agent shall not negotiate terms or contract with each other. The following subjects are among those which may properly be discussed between any Club and such Player:
- (i) the Player’s interest in playing for the Club, and the Club’s interest in having the Player play for it;
- (ii) the Club’s plans about how it intends to utilize the Player’s services (as a starting pitcher or reliever, as a designated hitter or not, platooning, etc.);
- (iii) the advantages and disadvantages of playing for the Club including the nature of the organization, the climate of the city, availability of suitable housing, etc.;
- (iv) length of contract;
- (v) guarantee provisions; and
- (vi) no-trade or limited no-trade provisions.
- Notwithstanding the foregoing, the free agent and his former Club may engage in negotiations and enter into a contract during “the quiet period”.
- The fifth day after the last game of the World Series, 5:00 PM – Deadline for organizations to submit qualifying offers to their free agents. Last year’s QO was $17.4M.
- This is also the deadline for organizations to exercise any club/mutual options.
- November TBA – GM meetings.
- The fifth day after the last game of the World Series – Free agents become eligible to sign with any team.
- Tenth day after the end of “the quiet period”, 5:00 PM – Deadline for players to accept/reject qualifying offers. Those who decline will become free agents.
- November 2, 2018 – Opening Day for the Columbian Winter League (LCBP)
- November 15, 2018 – Opening Day for the Puerto Rican Winter League (LBPRC)
- November 15, 2018 – Opening Day for the Australian Baseball League (ABL)
- November 20, 2018 – Deadline for roster expansion to 40 players prior to the Rule 5 draft.
- November 26-29: MLBPA Executive Board Meeting, Dallas, TX
- December 2, 2018, 8:00 PM EST – Deadline for teams to tender contracts to unsigned players on their 40-man rosters, including arbitration-eligible players. Non-tendered players become free agents. Tendered players who are arbitration eligible who do not accept the tender proceed to the arbitration process in February.
- December 9-13, 2018 – Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada
- December 13, 2018 – Rule 5 draft.
- TBA – (last year on January 9th) – Salary arbitration filing deadline
- TBA – (last year on January 12th) – Salary arbitration figures exchanged
- TBA – (last year on January 29th – February 16th) – Salary arbitration hearings
- TBA – (last year on February 14) – pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training (tentative: report on 2/13, first work out 2/14)
- TBA – (last year on February 19) – all other players report for full squad workouts (tentative: report on 2/18, first work out 2/19)
- February 22, 2019 – Phillies’ 2019 spring training opener at Tampa Bay (TBD)
- February 23, 2019 – Phillies’ 2019 spring home opener v. Pittsburgh (1:05 PM)
- February 24, 2019 – at Detroit (1:05 PM)
- February 25, 2019 – v. Detroit (1:05 PM)
- TBA – (last year on February 27th) – tentative start of minor league spring training.
- February 26, 2019 – at NY Yankees (TBD)
- February 27, 2019 – v. Minnesota (1:05 PM)
- February 28, 2019 – Split Squad v. Baltimore (1:05 PM), at Toronto (1:07 PM)
- March 1, 2019 – v. Pittsburgh (1:05 PM)
- March 2, 2019 – at Tampa Bay (TBD)
- March 3, 2019 – at Minnesota (1:05 PM)
- March 4, 2019 – off day
- March 5, 2019 – v. St. Louis (1:05 PM)
- March 6, 2019 – at Toronto (1:07 PM)
- March 7, 2019 – Split Squad v. NY Yankees (1:05 PM), at Detroit (1:05 PM)
- March 8, 2019 – at Atlanta (6:05 PM)
- March 9, 2019 – v. Toronto (1:05 PM)
- March 10, 2019 – at Baltimore (TBD)
- March 11, 2019 – v. Tampa Bay (1:05 PM)
- March 12, 2019 – off day
- March 13, 2019 – at NY Yankees (TBD)
- March 14, 2019 – Split Squad at Pittsburgh (1:05 PM), at Tampa Bay (TBD)
- March 15, 2019 – v. Toronto
- March 16, 2019 – v. Houston
- March 17, 2019 – v. NY Yankees (ss)
- March 18, 2019 – at St. Louis
- March 19, 2019 – at Houston
- March 20, 2019 – v. Detroit
- March 21, 2019 – v. Toronto
- March 22, 2019 – at NY Yankees
- March 23, 2019 – at Pittsburgh (ss)
- March 24, 2019 – v. Baltimore (ss)
- March 25, 2019 – v. Tampa Bay
- March 28, 2019 – Phillies’ 2019 season home opener v. Atlanta (3:05)
The rosters and lists are up to date as of September 30th.