Open Discussion: Week of January 27th

Condolences to the Bryant and Altobelli  families at this time of loss.

MLB Top 100

MLB published their top 100 prospects last week.  It included three Phillies minor leaguers.  Alec Bohm was ranked #30, Spencer Howard #34, and Bryson Stott #87.

Bohm was ranked the #1 third baseman, and Howard was ranked the #9 right-handed pitcher.  Stott extrapolates out to the #16 shortstop.

For those of you who care where the system is ranked, expect it to drop when Bohm and Howard make their anticipated jumps to the Phillies this season.

MLB will publish their team top thirties in February.  Bohm, Howard, and Stott will undoubtedly be 1-2-3.

The Ball and the Strike Zone

It looks like the major league ball will NOT be used in AA this season.

Cameras are in the process of being installed at Spectrum Field for the possible implementation of robo umps in the FSL.

The QO Ten

Ten players were saddled with qualifying offers back in November.  With Marcell Ozuna signing with Atlanta last week, all ten have agreements in lace for the 2020 season.  Jose Abreu and Jake Odorizzi accepted their QOs.  Strasburg declined but quickly resigned with the Nationals.

The other seven players signed with new teams.  Since none of the six teams who lost QO players were revenue sharing recipients and none had exceeded the Luxury Tax Threshold in 2019, they will be compensated with draft picks between the second and third rounds.  None are r, so they pick in reverse order of their 2019 overall finish.

  • 68 – SF (for losing Bumgarner)
  • 69 – SF (Will Smith)
  • 70 – NYM (Wheeler)
  • 71 – STL – (Ozuna)
  • 72 – WAS (Rendon)
  • 73 – ATL (Donaldson)
  • 74 – cheaters (Cole)

Six teams signed the seven QO recipients.  Their penalties for signing them were –

  • NYY (for signing Cole) – since they had exceeded the Luxury Tax Threshold in 2019, they surrender their 2nd and 5th round selections in the 2020 amateur draft plus $1M from their international pool money
  • ARI (Bumgarner) – since they had NOT exceeded the Luxury Tax Threshold in 2019 and were a revenue sharing recipient, they surrender their third highest draft selection, in their case, their 2nd rounder
  • MIN (Donaldson) – they too had NOT exceeded the Luxury Tax Threshold in 2019 and were also a revenue sharing recipient, they surrender their third highest draft selection, in their case, their 3rd rounder since their competitive balance round cannot be forfeit due to a QO signing
  • LAA (Rendon) – had not exceeded the tax threshold and were not revenue sharing recipients, they surrendered their 2nd round pick and $500K from their international poll
  • PHI (Wheeler) – same as LAA
  • ATL (Smith and Ozuna) – had not exceeded the tax threshold and were not a revenus sharing team, so they surrendered their 2nd round selection and the selection they received for losing Donaldson plus $1M from their international pool

Baseball’s Scandal

More facts came out this week.  Although MLB’s investigation labelled the sign stealing as player-driven, MLB had made a deal with the MLBPA to grant immunity for testimony.  This article in the Wall Street Journal explains how the two parties may have sold baseball’s integrity for the near future.

Former Astro Dallas Keuchel was given credit as the first player to offer an apology in this article. in the Houston Chronicle

The following excerpts are credited to Keuchel.  I don’t really see much of an apology.  Besides, he’s a pitcher, not a position player and not likely involved in the actual stealing.

“Was it against the rules? Yes it was,” Dallas Keuchel said. “And I personally am sorry for what’s come about the whole situation.”

“It’s just what the state of baseball was at that point in time,” Keuchel said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “… It is what it is, and we’ve got to move past that. I never thought anything would’ve come like it did. I, myself, am sorry.”

“First and foremost I think apologies should be in order for, if not everybody on the team,” Keuchel said. “It was never intended to be what it is made to be right now. I think when stuff comes out about things that happen over the course of a major-league ball season, it’s always blown up to the point of ‘Oh, my gosh, this has never happened before.’”

Of the five current Astros players who’ve spoken since Major League Baseball released its findings Jan. 13, none have expressed remorse or assumed any culpability.

Keuchel said that he’s spoken to some of his former Astros teammates and reported “there is sorrow in some guys’ voices.”

Most, Keuchel said, are unhappy at Mike Fiers’ decision to speak on the record about the ploy to The Athletic in November. Fiers’ on-record account was the catalyst for MLB’s investigation.

“A lot of guys are not happy with the fact that Mike came out and said something or the fact that this even happened,” Keuchel said. “But at the same time, there is some sorrow in guys’ voices. I have talked to guys before and this will be going on for a long time and I’m sure in the back of guys minds this’ll stay fresh.”

This is what can happen when there are no consequences for the cheaters, the whistle blower becomes the bad guy in their eyes.

Free Agency

Nick Castellanos remains the top free agent available, but is rumored to be close to a deal with the Reds.

Of the 590 free agents I’ve been following, 121 remain unsigned.  But, 469 have –

  • 111 – Signed MLB contract
  •      2 – Accepted QO
  •      8 – Declined QO and signed
  •      2 – Retired
  •   20 – Signed overseas (China-1,Japan-12, Korea-7)
  • 326 – Signed MiLB contract

Winter Ball

The Adelaide Giants (GCL South) swept a 4-game series from Geelong-Korea and secured the #1 in the Australian Baseball League.  Rixon Wingrove went 6-11 in the three games in which he played with 6 runs, a home run, 5 RBI, 3 walks, and 2 Ks.

The Giants roster includes six Phillies’ farmhands – Ben Aklinski, Mitchell Edwards, Logan O’Hoppe, Cole Stobbe, Rixon Wingrove, and Jose Taveras.

The Giants will start their playoff run next weekend in a 3-game seminal final series that starts at the ball park of Tuesday’s Wildcard game between Canberra and Perth.  The Giants will host games 2 and 3 (if necessary).  If they advance to the finals, they will face the winner of the Auckland-Melbourne semifinal the following weekend.  The series could run until February 9th.  Minor league spring training starts on March 1st.

Kyle Glogoski (Auckland), Josh Hendrickson (Perth), and Josh Tols (Melbourne) are on playoff rosters, too.  It appears that they have been shut down. Tols is in Clearwater.

  • Australian Baseball League 
  • Aklinski – .210/.289/.340/.629, 21-100, 11 R, 6 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 10 BB, 28 K, 1/1 SB
  • Edwards – .214/.275/.262/.537, 18-84, 5 R, 4 2B, 9 RBI, 6 BB, 15 K
  • O’Hoppe – .258/.389/.483/.872, 23-89, 17 R, 5 2B, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 18 BB, 23 K, 1/2 SB
  • Stobbe – .152/.225/.203/.427, 12-79, 8 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 5 RBI, 6 BB, 33 K, 1/1 SB
  • Wingrove – .232/.326/.348/.674, 26-112, 16 R, 4 2B, 3 HR, 23 RBI, 16 BB, 39 K, 2/3 SB
  • Glogoski (0-2, 5.09) – 17.2 IP, 15 H, 10 R, 10 ER, 5 HR, 9 BB, 19 K, 1.36 WHIP
  • Hendrickson (1-2, 1.93) – 18.2 IP, 11 H, 9 R, 4 ER, 2 HR, 2 BB, 28 K, 0.70 WHIP
  • Tols (1-3, 2.84) – 19.0 IP, 14 H, 9 R, 6 ER, 2 HR, 11 BB, 22 K, 1.32 WHIP
  • Taveras (0-0, 5.40) – 10.0 IP, 12 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 HR, 8 BB, 6 K, 2.00 WHIP
  • Dominican Winter League
  • Grullon – .143/.143/.143/.286, 2-14, 1 R, 2 RBI, 5 K (last played 10/20)
  • E. Garcia (0-0, 10.80) – 5 G, 3.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K
  • C. Sanchez (0-0, 10.13) – 5 G, 2.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K (last pitched 10/27)
  • Puerto Rican Winter League
  • Singer (3-0, 2.38) – 11 G, 11.1 IP, 12 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 HR, 8 BB, 6 K
  • Mexican Winter League
  • Ross (0-0, 9.00) – 2 G, 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

This is the Phuture Phillies Open Discussion for Phillies and other baseball topics.

Key Dates:

  • February 3-21, 2020 – Salary arbitration hearings, Phoenix
  • February 11, 2020 – Voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players
  • February 16, 2020 – Voluntary reporting date for other players
  • February 21, 2020 –  Mandatory reporting date
  • February 22, 2020 – First spring training game at Tigers
  • February 23, 2020 – First spring training home game v. Pirates
  • March 1, 2020 – Reporting date for minor league spring training
  • March 2020 – Americas Qualifier in Arizona (2020 Olympics qualifier)
  • March 23, 2020 – Final spring training home game v. Rays
  • March 26, 2020 – Phillies’ opening day at Miami, active roster reduced to 26 players
  • March/April 2020 – At-Large Qualifier in Taiwan (2020 Olympics qualifier)
  • April 2, 2020 – Phillies’ home opener v. Milwaukee
  • June 10-12, 2021 – Amateur draft in Omaha, NE
  • June 15, 2020 – International amateur signing period closes
  • July 2, 2020 – International amateur signing period opens
  • July 10, 2020 – Deadline for drafted players to sign, except for players who have exhausted college eligibility
  • July 14,2020  – All-Star Game at Los Angeles
  • July 31, 2020 – Last day during the season to trade a player
  • August 31, 2020 – Last day to be contracted to an organization and be eligible for postseason roster
  • September 1, 2020 — Active rosters expand to 28 players

The rosters and lists are up to date as of January 26th … 376 players in the org

Transactions (newest transactions are in bold print)
1/23/2020 – 1B Neil Walker assigned to Lehigh Valley
1/23/2020 – LHP Francisco Liriano assigned to Lehigh Valley
1/23/2020 – RHP Drew Storen assigned to Lehigh Valley
1/23/2020 – RHP Bud Norris assigned to Lehigh Valley
1/22/2020 – Phillies signed FA 1B Neil Walker to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
1/22/2020 – Phillies signed FA RHP Drew Storen to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
1/22/2020 – Phillies signed FA RHP Bud Norris to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
1/22/2020 – Phillies signed FA LHP Francisco Liriano to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
1/17/2020 – C Christian Bethancourt assigned to Lehigh Valley
1/17/2020 – 2B Ronald Torreyes assigned to Lehigh Valley
1/16/2020 – Phillies sent CF Odubel Herrera outright to Lehigh Valley
1/14/2020 – Phillies designated CF Odubel Herrera for assignment
1/14/2020 – Phillies claimed LF Nick Martini off waivers from Cincinnati Reds
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster 3B Alec Bohm to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster 3B Luke Williams to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster LHP Kyle Dohy to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster 1B Austin Listi to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster LHP Tyler Gilbert to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster 1B Darick Hall to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster RHP Spencer Howard to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster LHP Damon Jones to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster C Henri Lartigue to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster SS Nick Maton to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster OF Mickey Moniak to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster RHP Ramon Rosso to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster RHP Addison Russ to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster LHP Zach Warren to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster RHP Connor Brogdon to spring training
1/10/2020 – Phillies agree to $2.65M contract w/RHP Zach Eflin, avoid arbitration
1/10/2020 – Phillies agree to $3.6M contract w/RHP Vince Velasquez, avoid arbitration
1/10/2020 – Phillies agree to $2.95M contract w/LHP Jose Alvarez, avoid arbitration
1/10/2020 – Phillies agree to $1.575M contract w/LHP Adam Morgan, avoid arbitration
1/02/2020 – Phillies signed INF Ronald Torreyes to an MiLB w/invite to ST
1/02/2020 – Phillies signed C Christian Bethancourt to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST

201 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of January 27th

  1. “It’s just what the state of baseball was at that point in time,” Keuchel said, according to the Chicago Tribune.“ What is that supposed to mean? Is he implying that every club was stealing signs? As for disciplinary action, if players can be suspended for their conduct off the field then they should be subject to disciplinary action for their conduct on the field.

  2. Looking at the winter league stats, few if any of the Phillies acquitted themselves well. I hope this is not a view of the future.

    1. The one who did well was Logan O’Hoppe in the ABL….one of the youngest…a second player close behind him was Rixon Wingrove.
      O’Hoppe’s bat is playing well down under….he could be a top ten catching MLB.com prospect by this time next season.

      1. Yeah, these kids are going from GCL to Instructs to the ABL with little or no break.

        Hendrickson also pitched well, if we look past the 1-2 record.

        There is also the different culture and a language barrier to overcome. 😉

        1. Spot on, forgot all about Hendrickson…an Aussie tall lefty who went to college on the West Coast….he could be another steal in the draft….as long as he stays healthy.

    1. I raved the O’Hoppe draft pick from the time it was made. Defense is Logan’s calling card with potential to tap for power. But it was Logan’s ability to put the bat on the ball that puts him in a higher level. If O’Hoppe can keep up his hitting all the way to the upper minors — he can project to be similar to JTR!!

  3. The MLB Top 100 for Bohm and Howard were no brainers…Important year for Stott…I assume he starts at Lakewood and when the updated mid-year Top 100 comes out if he’s still at Lakewood he’ll be off this list…He struggled offensively for most of the Low-A season last year in a league where normally only a few pitchers have plus stuff..

    1. Why are you so down on Bryson Stott? Because he wasn’t awesome at Williamsport and was merely very good? Because he may start at Lakewood? Who cares? Alec Bohm – who is a top 30-35 MLB prospect, hit .224 in Williamsport and also started at Lakewood last year. Your post is unfairly negative and really isn’t based on any sample size or the player’s skill set. Give him a chance for crying out loud – there’s no reason to believe that he won’t be a fine prospect.

    2. Stotts WPT numbers 274/370/816 OPS over 182 PAs is not struggling in my book. Throw in the even smaller sample from GCL 11 PAs 667/727/2.061 OPS and I’d say he had a terrific pro debut.

      1. First off I’m not “down” on Stott…Just concerned. If you look at his Crosscutters numbers he was still batting in the low .200’s going into August… It picked up in August and finished at a respectable number.. Yet again; Low-A is not Hi-A or AA.. when it comes to pitching. His batting struggles most of the season could have been due to his first long college/pro season.. There were other college players who went through the same slump.. He’ll be an interesting follow and I’m sure Jim will give us great updates on all our 2019 draftees and other minor leaguers as spring training and the minor league progresses..

        1. I think you are overreacting. Slashing 0.295/0.391/0.494/0.885 in only 166 ABs on Year 1 of being pro is not a good basis to pre-judge a prospect unless there a specific reports that can affect Stott’s future performance.

          Low minors are also used as a development stage and not to showcase what a prospect can and can’t do so stats in the low minors are not a good indication or basis of future performance.

        2. Your response suggests he didn’t do well in his debut, but he DID – a lot better than Bohm or Hoskins. And even if he hadn’t done well, there would be every reason for optimism based on the scouting reports. Hold off on the judgments at this point. Give him 3 months of full season ball before you start forming an opinion please.

    1. I was neutral at the time of the trade although it still make me wonder will Sixto give the Phillies Yelich on the time Jeter put Yelich on the trade block.

      One detail that resonates with me which made me think that the Phillies made the right decision (to sell high on Sixto) came from JimP — I did Jim mentioned before that the Phillies is concerned about Sixto’s conditioning or disappointed about Sixto lack of effort to improve his conditioning. I believe in Sixto’s stuff – I became a frequent visitor in Lakewood to watch Sixto and Medina pitch – but with his small stature and lack of discipline about conditioning – Sixto is bound to be a pen guy not the TOR that we hope him to be.

  4. With regard to Fiers I kind of side with Pedro. If he really wanted the credit of being a WB he would have outed them when he was still on the team.

    At the end of the day I neither consider him a hero or a zero.

  5. Not sure why the Reds are considering trading Nick Senzel. He’s a high pick, he’s still relatively young, and making peanuts. Sure, he’s coming off surgery, but he’s the type of player you hold onto. Don’t get me wrong, the Reds should get a decent haul for him but if he’s on the trading block, there has to be something the Reds know about him that we don’t.

    1. Not sure, but it could be that they think he is OK, but not great. This is his age 25 season. So far he’s put up a 89 OPS+/90 wRC+ in the majors (10% worse than league average).

      Steamer projects him at .256/.315/.427 in 2020, for a 93 wRC+ (7% worse than league average). Steamer projects 1.3 WAR.

      ZIPS projects him at .261/.326/.435 in 2020, for a 97 OPS+. ZIPS projects 1.4 WAR.

      If the Reds think that’s what he is, at a more-or-less fully developed age (25), they may think he’s more valuable in a trade.

      1. This is the type of trade that gets GMs fired. If Senzel blossoms into an all-star for another team, it would look real bad. That’s why GMs hold onto their prospects for as long they can.

        1. The Reds have some really good baseball people on their staff from Jocketty to Williams to Krall and David Bell.

          Until a trade actually happens it’s difficult to have a real opinion on it. I give the Reds some credit they are not sitting on their hands waiting for something to happen.

          Castellanos may end up being a beast in that ballpark

    2. In the sense that they just signed Castellanos they now have a crowded OF and Senzel coming off a torn labrum might not have a position.

      He played 96 games in CF last season and wasn’t that great. But generally I agree with you it would seem they would be selling really low on him.

    3. Senzel’s problem is that he doesn’t really have a position. His offensive numbers are good for 3b/CF but defensively, he really can’t handle those positions, which leaves LF/RF/1b.

      Don’t think he has the arm (before surgery) for RF. As a LF/1B his #’s are below league average.

      1. As a comparison, Adam Haseley posted a 1.7 WAR with a 85 OPS+ in CF in 2019. Senzel was .6 WAR with an 89 OPS+.

        Would we be happy with Haseley’s numbers as the Phillies everyday LF or 1b? Many aren’t happy with him as the proposed CF in 2020 with those numbers.

        1. The problem with Haseley wasn’t his numbers, it was the SSS. I like Haseley, but I really want to see how he holds up over 450-550 ABs.

  6. I haven’t seen O’Hoppe play in person, but from everything I’ve read and from videos online, he appears to be a really good prospect, though, admittedly, young and far away. However, if he continues his progress, he’s bound to land on some prospect lists by year-end or pre 2021.

    I haven’t done my own Trop 30 this season, but O’Hoppe would probably be around 10 to 15 to me, maybe higher.

    As for sign stealing, I think Manfred did the best he could, as per the Wall Street Journal article. What’s important is the future. A strong policy issued in the next several weeks, including player accountability and endorsement from the MLBPA would go a long way to reassuring me, at least.

    1. Frank:
      IMO, going forward players will be liable for any future cheating.
      They were exempt in this latest issue, but down the road, not so.
      Managers, who are now aware of the penalties (Cora/Hinch/Beltran), will be more forceful on their players…..no more turning their heads the other way.

  7. Ozuna needs to fire his agent… He’s younger and arguably better than Castellanos and takes 1yr./$18m offer from the Braves when Castellanos represented by Boras gets 4yr./$64m from the Reds…I think next to the NL East the NL Central will be the most competitive in baseball..

    1. I personally would prefer Castellanos as a pure hitter. They’re both sub par defenders but Castellanos’ special bat is going to do even better in that park.

      Man, what a line up on paper.

      Agreed though on Ozuna. I do not think he was smart in taking a one year deal if he had similar offers out there. Cannot see him doing better next year even without the draft pick.

    2. I think the opposite actually. Nick should fire Boras. Nick is comparable to JD Martinez and all Boras could get him was $16 AAV and he had no compensation attached to him and that’s coming off 1.000+ OPS with Cubs in a playoff run.

      Ozuna’s agent for his part probably did well to get him a 1/$18 deal. He can bet on himself and become a FA next year without a QO attached to him.

      And you’re misstating facts. Nick is younger than Ozuna by a year

      1. @DMAR – I actually like Castellanos and would like the Phillies to sign him if Cutch is not around. I know it’s hard to like him because of his poor defensive metrics — thus, I got a lot of push backs when I mentioned Castellanos as a target.

        1. You and me both KuKo. I was on that train early on in the off season. Most of his defensive woes came from playing in a huge RF out in Detroit.

          I thought those would improve slightly in our park in LF.

          1. I agree. If Pat the Bat handled LF, Castellanos should be able to handle it too. Not only Castellanos defensive metrics will improve in CBP but his offensive metrics might too.

            The Phillies need batters who can consistently put the ball in play so pitchers ca no longer work around Harper-Hoskins-JTR.

    3. – Castellanos is younger than Ozuna
      – Castellanos (120+ OPS+) has been a significantly better hitter past 2 years than Ozuna (sub 110 OPS+)

      Castellano > Ozuna

    4. Funny enough, I think Boras WAS ozuna’s agent previously, so maybe he should have stuck with him. And Ozuna did have multi-year offers, but it sounds like they were not very lucrative. I’d prefer Castellanos by a mile, anyway. I’m not surprised at all that Nick got that contract (but I thought TEX would give it to him), but I’d have been surprised if Ozuna got that.

  8. The thing people need to remember about Rob Manfred is that he’s the owner’s representative and is NOT truly a neutral third party. He’s not a judge. His biggest job is to grow and not harm the sport, so he’s not focused primarily on doing what’s “right” (although I’m sure he is trying to do that, at some level) as much as he is focused on repairing the damage without tanking his own sport, so this explains his punishments (or relative lack thereof) as much as anything.

  9. Baseball Prospectus Top 101:

    36. Howard
    40. Bohm

    Baseball America Top 20 Catching prospects:

    zero Phillies. No Grullon. No Marchan. No O’Hoppe.

    1. Frank:
      IMO, O’Hoppe will need to do his full season work before being considered for catching prospect honors by the national guys.
      So Lakewood will be his litmus test and will be a good indication of where he is in his development.
      Though Mets Alvarez was rated top 100 out of the rookie leagues.

      As for Grullon and Marchan and the BP rankings….have no clue why they are not even in the lower teens of the top 20.
      Very disappointing

  10. Just for fun … rank the following according to who (in your opinion) throws more MLB innings in 2020:

    * Adonis Medina
    * Enyel De Los Santos
    * JoJo Romero
    * Damon Jones

    PART 2 … rank these four the same way (most MLB IP)

    * Nick Pivetta
    * Vince Velasquez
    * Spencer Howard
    * Ranger Saurez

    1. I would go:
      Romero
      De Los Santos
      Jones
      Medina

      And then
      VV
      Pivetta
      Saurez
      Howard

      I don’t think Howard hits the big club until mid-season at the earliest, especially with the limited innings pitched last year.

      1. Assuming he is on such an innings limit, and I do, I hope they pace him well throughout the season so that he could pitch into September and even perhaps October. The year the Nationals just shut down Strasburg and didn’t let him pitch in the postseason was deflating and all too avoidable.

        1. Could be a tough call when he gets to LHV.
          Gary Jones and Steve Schrenk are going to have to get him stretched out, but at the same time prevent over-usage to the extent of limiting his workload
          Five/six inning starts will limit his usage….but will it stretch him out enough?
          Then again, you do not want to cut out bullpens between starts because these routines are critical to young pitchers.
          So it will be interesting to see how they go about this.
          The one good aspect is that Spencer Howard is older and physically stronger than a typical 20/21- year old breaking out on the scene.

          1. I think the best course of action for Spencer Howard this season is to have him head to extended spring training for the first few weeks. This would allow him to avoid the cold weather and limit his innings.

            1. Yes that is another possibility, for the first few weeks he can avoid the April chill in the North….he can get his work in, in the warmer weather.
              I am sure they have a plan and it will be interesting to see how they carry it out.

    2. I’m going to go with:

      DLS-Jones-Romero-Medina

      The first 2 players are already at Lehigh, and it wouldn’t take much for them to surprise in ST and make the team as a reliever. Romero and Medina have a lot more work to do.

      VV-Suarez-Howard-Pivetta

      I think VV will get the last rotation spot. Suarez’s days as a starter are done but barring a collapse in ST, he’s going to be in the bullpen. Howard won’t be up until the second half, he still has to progress, and there needs to be an open spot for him. If Pivetta can’t beat out VV and IF he remains as a starter, he’ll do it in Lehigh. Else, he’s in the bullpen and it’s iffy how effective he will be.

  11. Hinkie, I agree with 3up on JoJo, DLS, Jones, Medina, and I would switch Pivetta and VV, then Suarez and Howard. I have a feeling that a new and improved Nick Pivetta surprises us, both after his off season work and with the efforts of Bryan Price. I don’t expect a lot of innings from Spencer this year, although I believe he helps down the stretch, and I am hoping Medina re-establishes himself as a good prospect, but I don’t expect him to see the Majors.

    1. I would go:

      * JoJo (reliever)
      * Jones (reliever)
      * Medina (could start a few games)
      * DLS (they seem to have lost faith in him)

      and …

      * Pivetta (I’m still a believer)
      * Velasquez (I seem him as a swing man)
      * Howard (won’t be called up until maybe June)
      * Saurez (although I wouldn’t be shocked if he moves way up this list as a surprise starter in 2020)

      1. This will be easier to answer mid or after ST but here’s my guess as of now:

        PART 1 – Medina (will pitch both SP and RP) – JoJo – Jones – DLS (will be traded early in the season)

        PART 2 – Vinny – Pivetta – Ranger – Howard

    1. I’m pumped. The pitcher hitting and the strategy that goes with it, was not worth the boredom and lack of runs. After years of hating the DH, I think it makes sense for all major leagues and we won’t miss watching guys like Aaron Nola strike out or try to bunt.

        1. Catch, totally get that you’re for the DH, but in the last ten years the NL won 6 of the 10 WS. In the last twenty years, the NL won 10 of the 20 WS. I’m not sure it created any advantage for the AL.

          1. Just because the NL won doesn’t mean it wasn’t disadvantaged. In my mind, it most clearly was. The AL team generally carriers an extra “plus” hitter who has no position on a NL team – when they play in the AL park, the AL almost always had a better DH, a player who (with that roster spot) turned into a utility infielder or mop up reliever on an NL team.

            1. I agree with with WestCoastPhan if were that great of an advantage it would show up in the WS titles.

              What you are calling an advantage an “all hit no defense” guy becomes a liability in some fashion when they play by the NL rules in an NL ballpark.

              More and more NL teams are carrying that kind of guy too only he possibly might be a little more adept at playing some D. I think of Howie Kendrick.

              To each their own as they say. I hate the idea of a DH coming to the NL but also realize I am probably in the minority.

        2. Hideki Matsui was the DH in 2009. He was also WS MVP. Ok, Ryan Howard DH-d for us. But that also meant John Mayberry Jr. and Eric Bruntlett got important at bats. Think that wasn’t an advantage?

          And let me pose this question. What if we had the DH when Ryan Howard broke into the majors? Rollins, Utley, Thome, Howard, Abreu, Burrell….. just sayin.

    2. I’m glad that the DH is imminent. And while I hated it for many many years, it’s laughably pretentious, watching 97% of the pitchers holding a bat. I blame the decision makers for that. But anyway….

      However, one strategic wrinkle I’ve proposed is that while the DH should be applied to both AL and NL equally, I would support having the home team manager decide 3 hours before game time whether it is in effect for that day’s game. Let’s say the Yankees are in town and Gerrit Cole is starting. Perhaps Joe Girardi would rather force Cole to the plate and increase the Phillies chances since he might have to be lifted for a pinch hitter in the 5th or 6th inning. Of course, that would also depend on whether Aaron Nola is starting for us. I’m sure the DH would be employed most days BUT having the option would present some intrigue, especially on days when the visiting team is a prohibitive favorite.

  12. I agree with you, v1. I think both leagues should play the same way, and it is never going away in the AL, so the sooner, the better. On another topic, the Dbacks trade and all the talk of trading Betts, brings up how surprised I am that Matt Klentak didn’t make any trades. Not that I expected a blockbuster, but I thought he would be more active.

  13. matt13….”surprised I am that Matt Klentak didn’t make any trades”

    I could be wrong, as happened often times in the past, but I will be very surprised if Nick Pivetta is still wearing a Phillies uni come mid-February.
    Perhaps he has changed and is anxious for a new start under a new manager and PC, but at the end last year he probably was welcoming a change of address.

  14. Romus, I was right with you, but I read an article about he and his family relocating to California this off season, on the advice of his Agent, to train and work out, and get to work with a strength coach, along with some really good PItchers, like Jack Flaherty and Thor and Max Fried. I am a sucker for stories about athletes working hard to get better. He revised his mechanics and his approach, so, maybe, with Bryan Price’s help, we can see Pivetta reach his potential? It’s happened before, maybe we get lucky this time?

  15. So Starling Marte got traded to the DBacks. And now, the current Pirates payroll for 2020 will be under $50M. They will no doubt be getting the revenue sharing money. So here’s an owner who is not spending to win, keeping close tabs on his costs and content with the current profit he is making. He’s the owner and he can run his team any way he wants to, but if baseball wants to grow its popularity, they either need new ownership in Pittsburgh or make a floor on salaries and do away with revenue sharing.

    1. @The Guru The Pirates are not the only team that does this. The Rays have been doing it since their inception.

      The Marlins and Jeter did it just a few short years ago and everyone freaked out that they got virtually nothing for Stanton. I think that is looking like a pretty smart move these days.

      Although you can’t give them much credit for any of their other trades Yelich or Realmuto both appear to be weak returns on their side.

      There was a point in time when many around here lauded Cherington as some boy genius then turned the tables on him when it appeared he was never willing to trade prospects for proven MLBers. Rightly so! Imagine if he pulled the trigger on the Cole Hamels trade for the names being floated around that time.

      I don’t want to stray too far from your point however which is it’s not just the Pirates. We don’t biatch when other low payroll franchises have success e.g. The Rays, The A’s, The Indians

      1. I don’t consider the Indians to be low payroll anymore, they’ve been over $100M the last 3 years.

        For me, it’s funny how people are complaining that our owner doesn’t want to go over $208M (and pay tax) where as the Pirates’ payroll will probably be a 3rd of that.

        1. I think you see that with the Indians because they won the division 2/3 years and one of those was also a WS appearance.

          Just watch them though. They won’t pay Lindor so they will likely drop back down and do the tankey shuffle again. Antonetti and Chernoff are really good. I’d take them over what we have.

          Some teams obviously hide it very well (Rays and A’s) because they are good at trades and semi decent at drafting. The Pirates were just horrible in their trades.

  16. With regard to trades, phillies have nothing anyone wants beyond Howard and Bohm that would return anything of value. Better to focus on this year with what we have, wait for Howard and John, and go after Betts next offseason

    1. @Betts will fetch close to what Machado or Harper got — min $300M. if Middleton is thinking of that, he should just signed Rendon this offseason for less money or just target George Springer who will still command big $ but closer to $200M rather than the $300M+ that Betts will command.

      But I agree with you that they should just keep both Bohm and Howard. These duo can help balance the payroll.

    2. Going after Betts and his >$33M AAV for 8 years may be a pipedream when pitching would seem to be at the forefront of their biggest need.
      Now if VV, Pivetta and/or Eflin all turn out like winners this season, maybe Betts becomes a target.
      But I’d prefer to use some of that money on a free agent or two pither from the likes of James Paxton. Robbie Ray, Mike Minor, Charlie Morton, Corey Kluber, or even Chris Archer

      1. I do not believe getting Betts at say $35 million per year precludes going after Paxton or Ray or both. Next year is the year to spend without limit. After that we will have a new cba so who knows If there will even be a cap or tax.

        1. Not sure the Phillies think like that.
          A team that, history tells us, will not break the established protocols…and in this case the lux tax or CBT.
          Now your point on the new CBA in Dec 2021 may just do that…though I think they will just keep elevating the ceiling.
          .

  17. It’s funny but the first time Springer, Altuve, or Bregman swing over an off speed pitch…… there will be whispers as to their real ability.

    1. Last night I’m watching MLB network and they are going around the league interviewing different players on their thoughts about the Astro’s stealing signs.

      Of all guys who do they get to but Ryan Braun. This clown turns from the interviewer and the mic and looks directly into the camera eyes widen and says the Brewers have never cheated never even relayed signs from second base.

      Can someone really lack that kind of self awareness and not be a sociopath!

        1. His little TV press conference was surreal. The lack of self-awareness was staggering. It was a true STFU(!!!) moment. He is one of the last people who should have weighed in on this topic.

        1. Issue with Braun wasn’t just that he was a cheater but he tried to destroy the guy who was given the job of taking his sample. Remember that he accused him of mishandling/tampering with his sample which caused the “false” positive.

          Not only did he know he was lying but he was more than willing to throw someone else to the wolves to cover that lie.

        2. The way sports is now, cheating is okay, you win a superbowl and get a fine big deal, win a championship and lose some draft choices, big deal

          1. ….except for the lasting impression that the title was tainted. Hard to take pride in an accomplishment which everyone, including the cheaters, knows is cast in shadows. But yeah, some people don’t care.

  18. We are still in an off season where they won’t go over $208M. Now, we are going to go after Mookie Betts and top level Pitching next off season? I don’t believe that,

      1. If Mookie Betts ever plays for the Phillies, it will be as a rental player from August thru the end of the 2020 season. This isn’t likely, but the idea of the team forking over another 300+million contract (especially to an outfielder) is a pipe dream. This roster is already top heavy. Adding Betts on a LTC will topple the whole thing.

        The team would do better to add pitching. I’ve always loved James Paxton, but he may (or may not) be hit with a QO by the NYY’s (Phillies gotta stop forfeiting draft picks), and I also think Toronto is going to be willing to overpay for the Canadian LHSP.
        If Mike Minor is traded at the deadline, I could envision the Phillies making him a top FA target next winter. He’ll be 33 (could be had on a shorter deal) and come with no QO. Cole Hamels on a one year deal is another possibility.

  19. v1, one of the reasons I believe in Rhys’ ability to bounce back is my belief in his work ethic, and his ability to recognize pitches. He seems to have suffered from the “paralysis by analysis” syndrome that affects lots of athletes. I think he finds a way to have a really good season. And, 8mark, you really believe that we are just waiting to see how it plays out this year, and next year, we are back as a big market club? A quality SP and Betts puts us in the $228M range, and they are afraid of $208. I hope I am wrong, and you are right.

      1. Apparently, there have been some metrics that have been fairly kind to him as a first baseman, which is consistent with the eye test, which suggests that he’s perfectly okay at first. Nothing great, but not a butcher by any means whereas he was just a dreadful left fielder.

        1. Hoskins is not ok at first. He’s almost as bad as Ryan Howard, and that’s saying something. His range is poor, and when he gets to a ball, he muffs it too much. But the big thing is that he doesn’t pick bad balls off the field that well. He’s not helping out his fielders at all.

          1. Going back to what catch was referring to….there are some conflicting analytic data groups that are mixed with Hoskins overall defensive results.
            Here is the latest in defensive metric tech:
            Infield Outs Above Average:
            .https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/leaderboard/infield_outs_above_average

            “Statcast’s data seems to point toward the conclusion that Rhys is a bit above-average with the glove, as his +4 OAA ties him for fourth among 1Bs behind Matt Olson, Christian Walker, and Paul Goldschmidt. That checks out as far as Gold Gloves are concerned: Olson is the two-time incumbent in the AL, and Goldschmidt has won three in the NL”

            The eye test will say one thing….then you have the latest in tech metrics.

          1. I guess I better check the lenses on my glasses – :). Anyway, I’ll pay closer attention but he always looks sort of okay at first to me. Nothing special but not Dave Kingman, either.

          1. Jim- I got your drift and to this day I shudder when I see a 1B throw to second. And you are right – he can throw there ! See, I can’t even say it again……

      2. Wrong. He’s not truly awful. He’s not gold glove but he’s certainly passable. Do some research before you make comments like this.

          1. It’s funny how you attempt to be snarky when you used “the eye test” as support. That’s laughable right there.

  20. Baseball America has just released its rankings of the Top 100 international signings of 2019.

    The Phillies have zero — as in zip, nada — names on the list.

    Now, BA made a point of saying this doesn’t include players who have not yet signed, thus Yhoswar Garcia would likely be on it. However, that still is only one out of 100.

    The various rankings coming out from BA, MLB, BaseballProspectus, etc., are not encouraging.

    Ah, but 2020 is a new year

    1. Frank:
      Hoping the Phillies pursue Oscar Colas with whatever funds they have left…..and possibly get more before the June 15 deadline/dead period begins for two weeks… and see if they can sign him before that date.
      If they can offer him $3M or more….there is that chance he will sign before the J2-2020 date.
      Though the Yankees dropped $5M just on Jasson Dominguez last July…and Colas will be in the show before he will be.
      So it really will be a long shot…….but it is about time the Phillies get another big signee….Ortiz was the last in 2015 and he still needs to emerge.

  21. It looks like, assuming the Dodgers win the West, which isn’t much of a stretch, there are 2 Division winners and 2 WC teams, out of us, Atlanta, Wash, Mets, Cubs, Cards, Brewers, Reds, and Dbacks. It took 89 Ws last year to get WC#2. How many do we feel it will take this year? I think 90, minimum. We need a lot to go right, and, I think, significant contributions from unexpected sources. One of which, compared to last year, is the Bench, which I think has improved significantly. I miss Bamboo Brad, and I would like a little more out of Backup C, but I think we can have a very productive Bench, with a full season of Bruce, Josh Harrison and Neil Walker. Maybe, finally, a healthy Roman? I am just looking for a little extra wherever I can find it.

      1. I think the impact of the new on field staff shouldn’t be minimized.

        Health throughout the roster may be the biggest key to making the playoffs. I agree with the possibility that Jake Arrieta could be more effective with his elbow fixed in his walk year. My guess is that Spencer Howard debuts some time in July and unlikely before then, perhaps taking Vince Velasquez’s rotation spot. Barring injury to another SP, VV may be either moved to the bullpen or to another team at the deadline. I am feeling good about Zach Eflin’s fresh start under the new PC more than any other SP on the staff. He seems to have a better grasp of his own repertoire than either Velasquez or Pivetta.

        As for the rest of the NL east, I’m “counting” on the Nats having a hangover after their 2019 championship, plus the durability of aging arms like MadMax and Strasburg may be tested. Even the best pitchers have only so many bullets. The Mets have a nice core of young talent but the organization is highly dysfunctional (not that ours is well oiled). I consider the Braves most formidable and motivated to advance beyond a division title.

        My early prediction?
        1 Braves 92-70
        2 Phillies (2nd WC) 89-73
        3T Mets 84-78
        3T Nationals 84-78
        5 Marlins 66-96

  22. MLB.com did a look back of its Top 50 prospects from 2010:

    https://www.mlb.com/news/re-ranking-2010s-top-prospects?t=mlb-pipeline-coverage

    Here’s the full list:

    https://www.mlb.com/news/2010-top-50-mlb-prospects-list-c301611480

    The Phillies had two of the Top 50: Domonic Brown at #14 and Phillippe Aumont at #47!! Ethan Martin at #48 also ended up on the Phils, and of course Kyle Drabek at #17 was drafted by the Phils. Career WAR of those four: -1.4. None of them posted a positive career WAR!!

    1. That article is a good indicator of how hard it is for a prospect to pan out.

      Looking at the top 20 “redraft” for 2010, there are what 11 elite players? So a 3rd of the teams drafted an elite player. Which means 2/3 of the teams got (hopefully) a solid starter. But likely most of the other teams got nothing from that draft.

  23. My only disagreement, DMAR, is that minor leaguers are not represented very well in the CBA, and owners have gotten away with manipulating service time. How can you blame Bryant? I didn’t think he would win, but I thought it was way overdue for someone to challenge it.

    1. Matt I agree that minor leaguers are not well represented in the CBA. Remember that the next time you go to the bargaining table.

      To me something that is that black and white is silly to challenge. Countless other players before him had to suffer the same fate. It’s the equivalent of me getting pulled over for doing 70 in a 55 and then trying to argue to the judge that the speed limit should be 70 and therefore this ticket shouldn’t apply to me.

      Bryant should have gone to Tony Clark.

      That said maybe I’m missing something and this was some type of preemptive argument that had to be made in order to get the language right for the next CBA.

      After all what was the grievance here that he thought he was good enough to break camp with the big club that year and Theo thought he needed a little more seasoning?

      Listen I shed no tears for billionaire owners and I shed no tears for multi-millionaire players who play a game for a living. Kris Bryant after this season will have cashed (before taxes) over $30+ million in checks before the age of 30.

      1. DMAR…totally agree.
        What the MLB players have going for them after their arb years are completed… guaranteed contracts not even based on performance base parameters, with many of the most skilled, obtaining contracts a half-decade or longer.
        Only the NBA comes close to that with these cushy contracts.
        MLBPA knows this and is willing to let the system remain the way it is.

          1. Romus if I were arguing the owners side I would point to all the guaranteed money paid out with 0 to little return since the last CBA. I would categorize it in two types: draft signing bonuses and MLB Salaries.

            A math genius could calculate $1 Paid per WAR earned or MLB games played.

            There is a figure in there somewhere that shows who is coming out on top.

    2. I actually thought he might win. In any event I would suspect this rule will be at the center of negotiations for the next CBA. The rule may end up staying the same, but the owners may have to give other concessions to keep it that way. It’s actually a good rule for less well-off franchises – it essentially allows a team to control a player for 7 years, which is all you could really ask for and it’s much better than, say, the NBA, where control is only for 4 years and the NFL, where control is for 5 years plus franchise tag years.

    3. I would like someone to explain to me (1) how the service date is calculated and (2) which empty suit(s) would allow it to fall on such an untimely date so early in the season. Either start the date in the off season or at the trade deadline or Sept 1. A handful of games into the season seems beyond absurd. Both brains at that negotiation table should be examined.

      1. What are you talking about? It’s BRILLIANT by the owners for the date to fall as early in the season as possible as this is a huge financial windfall for them because they get essentially 7 controllable years and not 6 years. If anyone’s brain should be examined its the director of the MLBPA – they got schooled!

        1. I’m curious Catch how did you think he might have won? What would you have argued on his behalf…

          Since we both seem to agree this was a brilliant move on the owners side of the table and the MLBPA screwed up.

          1. ….yeah and now in so doing have created another hill to fight on at the next negotiations. Brilliant? Perhaps for the time being. And I don’t sympathize with the players either. But why don’t the owners just dispatch a memo to the public, “We’re out to save every penny no matter how poorly the optic to you, our beloved fans.”

            1. 8 its not a hill they will fear fighting on because they have no chance of dying on it. They have the leverage. They absorb most of the risk.

              And frankly neither side cares about the fans. Never have never will. Generally speaking of course.

            2. You’re right, DMAR. It’s just painful to watch both sides doing everything they can to dismantle the game’s original design, both on AND off the field.

            3. 8mark…the system has been in place for awhile now…and agreed upon by both the MLB and MLBPA…and in essence when you break it down as yuo earlier asked, players are separated into three categories:
              (1) pre-arbitration players;
              (2) players eligible for salary arbitration; and
              (3) free agents.
              All based on a player;s service time
              Basically…a MLB team has the contractual rights to a player until that player has six years of service time, then comes free agency
              A pre-arbitration player will generally be a player with < 3 yrs. of service time…. while a player who has at least three, but < six yrs of service time will be eligible to enter the salary arbitration process.

              Mow there is "Super 2s". ..players who have between two and three years of service time, BUT also at least 86 days of service time during the 2nd yr and ranks in the top 22%t of players who fall into that classification.
              A Super 2 player will have 3 yrs as a pre-arbitration eligible player and 4 arb yrs while a player who doesn't earn Super 2 status will have 3 yrs of salary arbitration following their 4 yr pre-arbitration years.

            4. Of course it’s brilliant for the time-being – organizations save money and delay free agency of their prized young players. Don’t shed a tear for these players – they make tons of money and have amazing medical and retirement benefits. There’s no oppressed party here – it’s a battle of the titans and the owners won this battle. If the players care enough over this issue, they will deal with it at the next CBA negotiation, but it’s nothing new so there should have been no surprises there.

              If you want to feel badly about anyone, feel badly for minor league players who are generally getting royally screwed and are thrown to the wolves by both the owners AND the MLBPA.

            5. Exactly……minor leaguers need to get a little more action or piece of the pie.
              And I assume the commissioner’s endeavor to reduce 40 plus minor league teams In 2021/22, he sees the owners saving on expenses and that hopefully some of that savings is redirected to minor leaguers who are still in their respective systems.

          2. Well, it’s a little hard to know precisely what the player could and should have argued in that I don’t know the full terms of the CBA, nor am I an employment lawyer. That said, I assume the owner argued that the CBA is plain and unambiguous and states precisely when the player is and is not eligible for arbitration or FA based on service time and Bryant was not eligible. I would suspect that Bryant made a number of counterarguments, primarily focused on the bad faith of the organization in not promoting a player that they clearly intended to promote for no purpose other than to impair his rights under the CBA.

            1. If I’m not mistaken I seem to remember you practice law so I was interested in that. I’m not a lawyer but I watched My Cousin Vinny quite a bit so I figure you can argue anything 🙂

            2. FWIW – Pesci’s cross-examination in that movie is superb. It’s used to teach junior lawyers how to perform a cross-examination (I’m completely serious!).

        2. agree catch that this is a brilliant set-up by the owners. They get the advantage of having a young star player playing with the big club for almost the entire season without that season costing them a year of control.

          It give them the added advantage of being able to delay that promotion if that player really struggles out of the gate to start the year.

  24. Excellent point, DMAR. This may, very well, be the precursor to the language needed in the next CBA, as I don’t think Scott Boras likes to waste his time.

  25. 8mark, he makes many, so I am sorry I didn’t specify. I was referring to the arbitration being a preemptive argument, to set up the necessary language to argue for some change in the next CBA. However, I expect there to be many issues, and the service time manipulation will not be at the top of the list.

    1. You fellas are too kind. Let them start playing some games and I’m sure I’ll start making some boneheaded ones again LOL

      and I fully expect you to let me know when I do 🙂

  26. Todd Z, who seems to be plugged in to the Phils, offers 5 names as potential NRIs. Tommy Hunter, who jimp has mentioned a couple of times, Jonathon Lucroy, Ervin Santana, Russell Martin and old friend Jason Vargas. Do any of these names interest you? I would take a shot on Hunter, if he is healthy, and one of the veteran Cs, as a possible back up. I have no interest in Vargas or Santana. Taijuan Walker, I would give a shot to, but he wasn’t on Todd’s list.

  27. Anyone else ready to pay attention to the Reds? They just picked up Pedro Strop for $1.85. I didn’t realize he was still out there.

    He’s not coming off his best season but you know what they say about RP….every other year.

    1. Reds pack a very solid hitting lineup…especially for Great American.
      Maybe Freddy will be in a pennant race come September.

      And remember all the chatter about Senzel vs Moniak in the 2016 draft?
      The 25-year old Senzel this season, was a little shaky in his first season of MLB action and is now coming off surgery for a torn labrum this off-season, which probably affected his 2019 season with a bad wing..
      So his immediate future can be in question until his arm is fully healthy.

      1. Questions on Senzel coming out of the draft was on his ability to stay at 3b. Apparently the Reds made the determination that he could not, even before the Labrum issue. His value as a prospect has diminished.

    2. I am…………..I think on paper over the winter they have improved their team dramatically. Now we will see if the team chemistry is there and whether they get tangible results on the field. By the way, include me in the group above who enjoys your posts.

      1. Thanks Jim I love talking baseball with all you guys 🙂

        My buddies some my age some much younger are easily impressed by all the information I am able to learn here.

        When we’re together and I start to nerd out on all of our prospects their eyes just glaze over and they give me that look like “dude we don’t care”

  28. Enjoyed reading the MLB article this morning on the impending DH, the long embattled rule, and about the Bill Giles botched abstention when Ruly Carpenter was on a fishing trip, with mobile phones unavailable circa 1980. The DH would have passed in the NL if Giles voted yay, since the Pirates rep was instructed to vote the same as the Phillies. So he also abstained. Hilarious. Carpenter told Giles to vote ‘yes’ under the assumption that the DH would take effect immediately. However, the voters present were told it might not go into effect until 1982. Word is that Carpenter wanted both Greg Luzinski AND Keith Moreland in his lineup. So….Uncle Bill basically gave the tally taker a ,”humminahummina….uh…the Phillies abstain.” Another classic chapter in Philadelphia sports history.

    1. Wow that’s a great story. 1980 was a great year. My father worked for a car dealership and we weren’t wealthy by any standard but one of the vendors liked my dad and gave him 2 tickets to game 2 of the WS. I was 11.

      We drove from Bucks county to grant and the blvd. Took a bus to Frankford and got on the EL. I couldn’t understand why we weren’t driving there.

      I had been to many games at the Vet before that but it was never sold out. We had great seats in LF however that ball Schmitty hit in the gap to break the game open we lost sight of and couldn’t tell if had dropped. It was the bottom of the 8th against Quisenberry and the old Vet erupted and shook like an earthquake.

      What a great memory you just made me recall.

  29. According to ESPN, the Phillies’ lineup is the 16th best in baseball (Mets 3rd, Braves 7th, Nationals 11th):

    https://www.espn.com/mlb/insider/story/_/id/28595190/way-too-early-2020-mlb-starting-lineup-rankings

    Philadelphia Phillies (83.8)
    1. Andrew McCutchen (R)
    2. Jean Segura (R)
    3. Bryce Harper (L)
    4. Rhys Hoskins (R)
    5. J.T. Realmuto (R)
    6. Didi Gregorius (L)
    7. Scott Kingery (R)
    8. Adam Haseley (L)
    9. Pitcher (–)

    Contact: 4 | Patience: 9 | Power: 20 | Speed: 12 | Balance: 3
    Core hitters: 2 | Lineup holes: 2

    The Phillies once again have two former MVPs in their everyday lineup, though they didn’t get MVP-level production from either McCutchen or Harper a season ago. McCutchen’s MVP days are probably behind him, but he was having a terrific season before tearing his ACL last June. The Phillies don’t need MVP Cutch, they need the pre-injury, 2019 Cutch — and that will be a key to the 2020 season. As for Harper, it still feels as if he has one or two huge seasons in him, at least. After a solid but unspectacular Philly debut, you don’t really hear much about Harper any longer in discussions of “best in the game.” He’s capable of getting back in that conversation and, if you hadn’t noticed, this will be his age-27 season. The holes for the Phillies as projected by my system are two: Kingery and Haseley. With Kingery presumably taking over third base from Maikel Franco, there is every reason to believe that he will consolidate his gains in 2019 and become an above-average producer. As for Haseley, well, he didn’t hit lefties during his debut season and might need a platoon partner. He didn’t have much of a split as a minor leaguer. Still, unless someone from among him, Roman Quinn and Nick Williams emerges, center field might become an area of focus for the Phillies if they become a buyer during the season.

    1. I have to agree. I see the Phillies projecting as sort of a middle of the pack team both on offense and defense, so, if they really want to contend, we will need some players to take a large step forward and/or Bohm and/or Howard to get promoted and contribute right away. Right now, this is the 4th best team in the division from my perspective. If you forced me to guess the future right now, I think they will rue the day they refused to go over the luxury tax line and sign a quality lefty starter. That, to me, is the biggest hole in this team.

    2. I agree with Catch that the rotation is the biggest hole. Kingery and Haseley production are decent for a bottom of the order hitter. Harper-Hoskins-JTR-Didi cannot afford to have long slumps as they are expected to carry the offense.

      I still believe that Nola can pitch like the 2018 version of him. Not a big Wheeler believer as a #2, but he got the stuff so I will continue to hope that Wheeler can become one. Eflin is the biggest enigma for me. Eflin has 4 CGs in his name and we’ve seen him get batters out with efficiency when he’s on. I view Arrieta as a #5 to avoid over expectation/under performance for his price tag. So a legit and steady #2 or #3 is the biggest hole in the rotation.

      Spencer Howard fits that role based on projection – and Howard is ready in 2020! Seabold is also ready but I have doubts in his stuff, he can surprise here and there but Seabold’s stuff is backend-ish….The wild cards will be Adonis Medina and Damon Jones — both have the stuff to be a #3 but consistency and command needs to be cleaned up, otherwise, they’ll be bullpen bound like the rest of the failed SPs.

  30. DMAR, a great story! Good times, and so was 2008. I was at the 2011 game vs StL., and it took me a full year to get over it. It is part of why I am so hard on the Management. I really want us to be contenders again, and really have a hard time with this make believe salary cap. They were truthful when they said they weren’t going above $208M, and intended to put a BP together with prayer and analytics. I certainly hope that Bryan Price does something to help VV or Pivetta, and Jake, somehow, rediscovers his ability, and is productive, but the chances that happens and the BP is viable with this collection of DFA’s and injured bodies, is a longshot.

    1. I was at the 2011 game where they lost the series and Ryan Howard to the Cardinals and, in one fell swoop, took us from a perennial contender to an also-ran team. It was the single most depressing sports even I’ve ever attended in person – it’s not even close.

  31. Catch/Matt it was a magical run while it lasted. Probably the best in my lifetime…

    Before and After the 80 team I guess was ok adding in the 83 loss to the Orioles. The 93 team disappeared almost as fast as they came it seems.

  32. The anatomy of the 2017 Astros sign-stealing season:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2020/01/31/an-astros-fan-listened-thousands-teams-2017-at-bats-sign-stealing-was-everywhere/?itid=hp_hp-cards_hp-card-sports%3Ahomepage%2Fcard-ans

    ….I cannot believe the extent, and the obvious disregard the players had for the rules”

    “Marwin Gonzalez led the team with 147 tipped pitches, followed by George Springer (139), Carlos Beltrán (138) and Alex Bregman (133). Gonzalez batted a career-high .303 with a .907 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 2017, but he has tailed off since. José Altuve was among those with the least amount of pitches tipped by banging sounds (24). The Astros did not swing at 59 percent of pitches preceded by a bang, according to the data; the league, as a whole, didn’t swing at 53 percent of pitches in 2017.
    The data also show almost two-thirds of tipped pitches were breaking balls (curveballs or sliders) and the rest change-ups and fastballs. That would be contrary to the report issued by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on the findings of the sign-stealing investigation. In that report, Manfred wrote, “Generally, one or two bangs corresponded to certain off-speed pitches, while no bang corresponded to a fastball.” If Adams’s research is accurate, that doesn’t appear to be universally true.”

  33. I think this lineup needs more punch. What about a deal for Kris Bryant. What if the Phillies offered this kind of package: Segura, Medina, VV, and Moniak. Getting Bryant would be a bet that the DH will come in 2021. Then Bryant and Bohm could alternate at 3b and DH, until Bryant’s contract ends after 2022.

    1. Not happening. If they are only dealing prospects Bryant will definitely cost them Bohm or Howard or both. They need to say no to that one.

    2. It appears you want to avoid trading Bohm.
      The Cubs will probably reject Segura (base on age and contract) and insist on Kingery.
      With Kingery ilo of Segura, would that beat out the Braves offering?
      1. One… of Pache or Waters or Riley
      2. Two pitchers…. from Wilson, Wright, Muller or Anderson
      My understanding the Cubs do want at least two pitchers…both young , controlled and close to MLB ready.

  34. Reggie McLain, come on down! The latest acquisition, and he replaces Trevor Kelley. I honestly, no little to nothing about either of them. But, the write up is about the same. They pitched well through the Minor Leagues, and got hammered in their short Major League careers. I think Reggie sports a “heavy” breaking pitch.

    1. Klentak loves to play the bullpen carousel. That’s his thing to add fungible arms in the system. Klentak will probably need to add at least a couple of players (bench INF, pitching) in the 40-man so McLain will soon join Kelley in LHV and Robertson will move to 60-DL for the other spot.

        1. Hopefully Klentak finally hits one with Robert Stock. I’m not optimistic about it but after 5-6 years, Klentak should at least hit one.

          1. Stock reminds me a bit of Marcus Stroman in his delivery (quick, tight, and explosive) and in his results (incredible bite on the slider). He could be a real force in the ‘pen if he stays healthy.

  35. I see the Dodgers getting Betts now.
    Jon Morosi reports the Dodgers are open to including outfielder Alex Verdugo in a deal for Betts…but do not want to trade Gavin Lux.
    IMO Verdugo and RHP Josiah Gary as the two pieces the Dodgers give up for the one-year of Betts

  36. For everyone’s info, Fangraphs posted their 2020 projections for the Phillies today. Always interesting to see how the cyber reality sees the future.

    1. It is interesting and the writer says what I’ve felt – it’s like they are one hitter, one starter, and one reliever short – it just doesn’t seem like they are quite there yet.

      1. Also, the article answered a question I had about Addison Russ’s stuff. Apparently, he is a splitter specialist, which is just fine by me. That pitch can, for the right guy, make a mediocre pitcher into a very good pitcher.

        1. Anybody recall who Bryce Harper was chatting up after a spring workout/sim game shortly after he signed? I think it was Russ but not positive. It was on video last spring. Bryce seemed to take interest in the kid’s stuff/delivery.

  37. Interesting in that Fangraphs piece some of the 2020 MLB projections for Phillies prospects (ZIPS is projecting what these players would do in MLB this year, not where they might be down the road):

    Bohm (age 23 season): .265/.327/.446 = .773 OPS
    Grullon (age 24 season): .230/.300/.413 = .713 OPS
    Hall (age 24 season): .210/.290/.411 = .701 OPS
    Listi (age 26 season): .220/.301/.372 = .673 OPS
    Moniak (age 22 season): .230/.271/.369 = .640 OPS
    Muzziotti: (age 21 season): .242/.282/.322 = .604 OPS

  38. From Longenhagen chat today:

    Thank you for the chat!: Do you promote Bohm early in the season? Trade him for pitching/impact player?

    Eric A Longenhagen: Coming out of Fall League, most of the industry seemed to think this guy is a 1B. I was a little more generous, I think he can play a 40/45 3B. Yandy Diaz stared playoff games at 3B.

  39. Do not understand Fangraphs comp of Nola…..”John Montefusco”…Wheeler-Dean Chance and Spencer Howard-Dick Ruthven
    Or for that matter how they comp any player…what is the logic!

  40. I think Cristopher Sanchez may be the Lottery ticket who pays off. I think they are way short of the comps. I think the Count had a couple of good years but Nola is better, Wheeler should be better than Dean Chance and if Spencer isn’t better than Roofus we will all be disappointed! Ruthven topped out as a 3, Spencer could be a TOR

  41. In the FWIW department, MLBTR’s poll with over 6000 votes – who is the NL east favorite….
    Atlanta 58%
    Washington 18%
    NY Mets 15%
    Phillies 9%

  42. Have the Phillies released a list of the non-roster ST invitees? I read where the Cardinals are bringing in 31 players… That better be a huge spring training clubhouse or shower schedules are done alphabetically (A-M/N-Z.)

  43. 193. Johan Rojas, OF, PHI. Age: 19

    Love me some Johan Rojas. After torturing the Gulf Coast League for 18 games (159 wRC+ in 84 plate appearances) to begin the summer, the outfielder was promoted to the NYPL. Viewed as an aggressive placement in the middle of the summer, Rojas posted respectable albeit unspectacular numbers–.244/.273/.384 with 2 home runs and 11 stolen bases (96 wRC+)—in 42 games and 172 plate appearances. The reports on the tools are what you hope to read about any teenage prospect: 70-grade speed, emerging power that could potentially ascend to 55 raw, and solid defense at a premium position (center field). The swing is a little funky (there’s quite a bit of movement with his front foot pre-pitch and a bit of a bat wrap), but any flaws have not yet manifested in strikeout rate (16.0 K% in 60 total games in 2019). I feel like the bigger challenge for the 19-year-old will be the development of patience (5.5 BB% last season) and quality of contact. The South Atlantic League should be in the cards for Rojas in 2020, and he’ll be a prospect whose stat line I glance at on a daily basis. Phillies Rank: 5th

    https://prospects365.com/2020/02/01/ray-butlers-2020-top-200-prospects-181-200/

    1. 187. Luis Garcia, INF, PHI. Age: 19

      If you remember, one of my prospect bold predictions last year was that Garcia and Ronny Mauricio would both be top-25 prospects by the end of 2019. After beginning any subsequent conversation with the fact the prediction was wrong, it’s always Mauricio who’s discussed afterwards. The forgotten member of that duo, it’s fairly obvious Garcia was pushed too aggressively into full season ball in 2019. In 127 games and 524 plate appearances, the teenager slashed .186/.261/.255 with 4 home runs and 9 stolen bases (8.4 BB%, 25.2 K%, 55 wRC+). I’d imagine those are the worst offensive numbers from any prospect you’ll read about on this list. I don’t have any magical reports to renew your faith in the infielder. To my knowledge, there was no secret injury that hampered Garcia throughout his full season debut. He was just bad. But while he’s been largely discarded from a fantasy sense, I’m quietly gobbling-up ground floor shares and betting on a bit of a bounce back in 2020. It’s true I overestimated Garcia’s fantasy potential a bit when I ranked 110th last preseason before he debuted in the South Atlantic League, but I wasn’t wrong about the potential for an above average hit tool and above average speed. I’m buying those tools with the idea repeating the Sally this season will help him recuperate his stock. Phillies Rank: 4th

      1. The debate in May 2016 prior to the Rule 4 in June…..Moniak, Groome , Senzel, Puk, Pint , Anderson et al………181. Jay Groome, SP, BOS. Age: 21

          1. If I remember correctly, most of us who post here were torn between 1 of the 3 Pitchers, with Groome, being from this area, getting a lot of support. There was a lot of Pint and Puk love, too. I don’t remember a lot of debate of MM vs. Senzel. Still hoping that Mickey makes a jump this year, and shows he has “every day player” in his future.

            1. Puk has won that discussion..Pint is still in A ball trying to re-configure his throwing motion so he can reliably throw strikes.. Plus he’s had a bad run of weird injuries…As for Groom… I’ve lost track…

    2. Rojas and Stott are 2 position prospects whose daily box score I will be checking as well, with hopes they both break out in 2020.

  44. I guess its time to give my state of the Phillies. I find it hard to be happy when my team is capped out, with weak farm system. a 4th place team. in a five team division. Middleton and the G.M have been backed into a corner, Middleton imo should not be worried about the cap, when he knows how short this team is in talent. His G.M made the mistakes by giving out bad contracts to older relief pitchers. Why should we suffer another losing or 500 season, cause Middleton was blinded by this guy?

    1. Rocco, think of the aging high profile relief pitchers that WEREN’T signed last year and maybe feel a little better

  45. roccom, I share your point that we should have done more to address the Pitching, both SP and the BP. But, this is what we’ve got, so I hope that we find a gem in one of the DFAs we have accumulated, and Bryan Price helps 1 or 2 of the Pitchers. I think the PC upgrade is huge, and I look forward to seeing what he does with them. Didi is a real professional hitter, and I hope we start strong, and when we need reinforcements in July, Middleton blows well past the $208M

  46. Add another infielder to the mix…Logan Forsythe.
    Matt Klentak is sure to have plenty of infield experience coming off the bench.

  47. I wish we had some more SP options to get lucky with. It serms we are pretty securely in that #4 spot in our own Division. Less than 2 weeks until ST. Getting excited for it to start. I always think positively regardless of what my head tells me when ST starts.

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