Open Discussion: Week of February 28th

The Grapefruit League began on Sunday.  The outcome was a dismal loss.  More on that later.

No change to the Phillies’ running payroll of $188,159,462.  (Twenty 20 players under contract, including Seranthony, plus an estimate for the seven pre-arbitration players under team control with 0-3 years experience (estimated at the league minimum $570,500).

No change to the Phillies’ salary against the competitive balance tax of $198,272,282, includes estimates for the rest of the 40-man roster ($2.25M) and player benefits ($15.5M).

No change to the Phillies’ margin under the CBT threshold of $210M, $11,727,718. (see spreadsheet)

My estimates are likely low.  Some of the 7 players who don’t have salaries yet will undoubtedly make more than the league minimum.  And, a couple players are likely to be replaced by a couple of NRIs.  Brandon Kintzler and Tony Watson receive $3M each if they make the major league roster.  Ivan Nova, Hector Rondon, and Matt Joyce would receive $1.5M.  Depending on who makes it and who gets optioned or worse, the payroll and CBT could go up by as little as around $1M or as much as $2.5M to $5M.

As I reported last week, Luis Garcia arrived in Clearwater.  His addition to the Phillies’ roster was the only transaction last week.  He was among a bunch of Mini Campers who took the bus to Lakeland for the spring opener. Others were – Tyler Carr, EDLS, Julian Garcia, JD Hammer, Jonathan Hennigan, Jake Hernandez, Edgar Cabral, Darick Hall, Bryson Stott, Lucas Williams, Jhailyn Ortiz, and Johan Rojas.

In Sunday’s game, Adam Haseley opened the scoring when he homered on the second pitch of the game.  That good feeling was quickly erased when Ivan Nova came to the early realization that second division hitters in the major leagues are way better than the competition he faced in the Dominican Winter League.  Only two of the 6 batters he faced played in as many as 15 games in 2020.

Manager Joe Girardi followed with what I considered a questionable move, bringing in a young pitcher to face a bases-loaded situation.  The result was easily anticipated.  The young pitcher couldn’t throw a strike.  It’s just a spring game, but I think he had better, veteran options instead of a kid who pitched in AA in 2019.

The Phillies lineup and substitutions were made up of a collection of players who are most likely to start the season in Allentown.  Only Alec Bohm and Adam Haseley are likely to be on the 26-man roster.  The young Phillies managed 2 runs on 4 hits (Haseley’s first inning blast, A hard it double by Mickey Moniak, and singles by CJ Chatham and Jeff Mathis) and 2 walks (Haseley and Darick Hall).  Nine different Phillies struck out, none twice.

Nova and Jonathan Hennigan were wild in the first inning, issuing 5 walks and only recording 2 outs.  David Hale gave up a run in one inning on 2 hits and a walk.  Bryan  Mitchell threw two strong innings allowing one hit and striking out three.  EDLS gave up a solo HR among 2 hits but struck out three in one inning.  Hammer gave up 2 runs on 2 hits (including a HR) and 3 walks in 0.2 of an inning.  Tyler Carr recorded the final out getting a strikeout on 4 pitches, all strikes.  In total, the Phillies’ staff walked 9 and struck out ten.

Ten of the 13 mini campers who made the trip got into the game, Hall started at first base.  Only Cabral, Julian Garcia, and Hernandez were spared.

To add to the humiliation, the first inning ended when Girardi rolled the inning.  This is a “B” game or XST game practice to save pitchers’ arms.  It is almost always done by AL affiliates, most notably the Blue Jays.  They often roll an inning when a pitcher gets in trouble and has thrown “too many” pitches.  Sometimes we’ve seen them send the same pitcher to begin the next inning.

In reality, it is a good practice that protects pitchers.  Yes, it’s frustrating for fans when their team has a rally going.  That’s why there was booing as the Phillies left the field.  However, in these practice games, the health of the players is paramount.

If you didn’t see the announcement in the comments section, I added the Michael Schwimer articles on a tab on the menu above.

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

Key Dates:

  • February 28, 2021 – First spring training game @ Tigers
  • March 1, 2021 – First home spring training game v. Orioles
  • March 24, 2021 – Opt out date for Brandon Kintzler
  • April 1, 2021 – Phillies’ home opener v. Braves
  • April 2021 – ST for Double-A and Single-A begins
  • May 2021 – Opening day for Double-A and Single-A
  • June 25, 2021 – Close of the 2020 international signing period
  • July 11-13, 2021 – 2021 Amateur Draft
  • October 2, 2021 – Phillies clinch a playoff berth in Miami

The rosters and lists are up to date as of February 28th … 338 players in the org

Transactions (newest transactions are in bold print)

2/22/2021 – SS Luis Garcia assigned to Phillies
2/17/2021 – Phillies placed RHP Seranthony Dominguez on the 60-day IL
2/17/2021 – LHP Tony Watson assigned to Lehigh Valley
2/17/2021 – Phillies signed FA LHP Tony Watson to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
2/17/2021 – Phillies signed FA SS Brad Miller
2/16/2021 – RHP David Paulino assigned to Phillies
2/16/2021 – C Jeff Mathis assigned to Lehigh Valley
2/16/2021 – Phillies signed FA C Jeff Mathis to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST

148 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of February 28th

  1. I am rooting hard for Mickey Moniak. He has an outside chance of being the 4th or 5th outfielder but most likely will be the starting Centerfielder in LHV. Hit a hard double over the CFer’s head yesterday and then made a great play on defense.

    1. Personally I feel like if Moniak is on the team, that doesn’t bode well for us. Just feel like he’s overmatched at the ML level. Interestingly enough, looking at his baseball ref projections, they have him hitting 8 HR IN 197 ab . . . Zero chance that happens.

      1. That’s a little harsh. The kid keeps getting stronger and is getting better. Give him a chance to play the entire season at LHV and let’s see how he does.

    1. Denny…didn’t he do the same thing first spring training game vs Tigers @ Lakeland three years ago?.

      1. Yes he did. My grandson and I were standing out on Concourse in RF and it went over our heads. Tiger people told us it was the longest HR hit there after update to stadium.

    1. Not many surprises, but Simmons at 34 does seem a little too low IMO….I have him about 12/15 spots higher.

        1. Looks like Eric L. did see quite a bit of the Phillies prospects at the alt site or those playing down under…like Simmons….he does say he has a lot of swing and miss with his explosive swing.
          And yes…Falter seem to get it going with his velo bump up….I guess Eric was reading what Josh Bonifay had said about Falter after the fall instructs.

          He even thru in a former Flyer analogy of Casey Martin…made me chuckle.
          “….Especially toward the end of his college career, Martin’s approach was less discerning than Mike Richards in an Old City bar at 1:45 AM, …”

  2. I’d rather discuss Andy Knapp starting out strong today and the really deceptively good season he had last year. We should feel very good about the games he has to start in place of Realmuto. He’s developed into a superb back-up and he may still be quite a bit more than that.

    1. Plus, add Duran and Marchan ….they are already MLB ready defensively.
      Duran may have already been up knocking on the door to the majors where it not for his injury and missing a full year of developmental time.
      Phillies are in a good position with catching, right now.

  3. My goal is to not react to anything I am seeing right now and to just enjoy seeing baseball again 🙂

    1. Me too………………….all the glitter and glow somehow has a way of dissipating by the end of ST. Better to just say uh, huh and go with the flow.

  4. DMAR, I have to agree with you. However, that Matt Joyce bomb was a beautiful sight!

    1. matt13…they list Johan Rojas at 6″1″….he looked taller to me hovering at first base after his FC.

      1. Practice for the season , We tried, We will get them next time, Were young, Should have won today, Manager blew the game, Wait until next Year, I still think we wont win 80 games this year,

        1. rocco….LOL.
          “Manager blew the game”…now that is funny….the 2nd spring training game no less.

          1. Rocco is in character very early this year, must have stayed in shape over the winter. Looks to me like he is game day ready with no need for ST!

        2. Rocco they win more than 80 games easy I’d say 85-89 minimum question is do the Mets get that much better and do the Braves have some things go wrong for them and take a step back

    2. It was Matt 🙂 As O’Dowd said he’s a guy that always manages to find a way onto an MLB roster and I hear a really good friend of Sam Fuld

  5. Connor Seabold pitched an inning for the R.Sox this afternoon. He gave up a hit and struck out two. I’d rather have Hale and Workman.

  6. Romus, Duran also swung a very nice bat. We have C depth, Duran, Marchan, O’Hoppe. ciada, remembering those trades last year bring on an instant headache!

    1. matt13…Joe Girardi did mention that during the game…”a stable of catchers…very unique in today’s game, not many teams have that”
      Also, I cannot wait to see Abrahan Gutiérrez ….understand he looked very good and in excellent physical condition in the fall instructs.

      I would think with JTR out for a little while longer….they will all get exposure…..and one of two could be trade chips for Dave Dombrowski.

      1. All those catchers plud Bethancourt looked really good last year in spring training and is back

  7. With the strong possibility that both NRIs Brandon Kintzler and Tony Watson make the squad going north, my count among the current 40 man roster shows 12 other likely arms – totaling 14, with 13 being the max. So, I suggest that, barring injuries (which are always likely as well) Vince Velasquez and his $4M may be heading off later this spring, perhaps for a couple midlevel prospects. Something to keep an eye on….

    1. ….btw, I’m not including Spencer Howard in the group. I have Alvarado, Anderson, Bradley, Kintzler, Velasquez, Eflin, Nola, Wheeler, Moore, Romero, Coonrod, Watson, Brogdon and Neris.

      1. I am still hoping that the Phillies can sign Cole Hamels. Yes, he was hurt and had a bad start last year, but if he hasn’t lost too much velocity, I would GLADLY take the Cole Hamels who pitched for the Cubs in 2019 (3.2 WAR in 27 starts) – he was damned good and would make an outstanding #4 or 5. If they can get him on a minor league contract with incentives, he would be a tremendous option for the team.

    2. There is no max of 13 pitcher limit this year so 14 is a possibility if they want to go with a 4-man bench.

  8. Coonrod has an option, I believe, mark, and he may be AAA bound. Are you starting Spencer in LHV also? I also have Watson and Kintzler making the team.

  9. Obviously, Matt Joyce made a great first impression yesterday. But a few other guys also impressed me:
    I thought Michael Ynoa looked good out of the BP. He’s got a shot to make the team.
    And I liked Nick Maton, Johan Rojas and Bryson Stott. I’ve felt for some time now that Maton is (at least) a MLB utility MIFer. He’s solid in every phase of the game. Rojas probably has the best tools in the system. Loved the speed he showed getting down the line on his FC. If anyone has been in the Draft Thread, take a look at the Justice Thompson video. IMO, Thompson is the kind of player Rojas can be. And it is obvious Stott has the chance to be an elite bat to ball guy. I have doubts about his ability to play SS long term, but I hope they give him plenty of PT there this spring.

  10. Hinkie, I did not see Maton’s error, so all I saw was 2 unearned runs. I don’t see him making the team this season, but definitely have viewed him as a utility IF, at the least, as you mentioned, I think the National guys have shortchanged Stott, and I look for a big year from him. I see that Odubel is starting today. Matt Gelb had mentioned he looks to be ” in pretty decent shape.” I haven’t seen him, but I would have expected that to be “the best condition of his life”, considering what he has to overcome, so I am a bit disappointed in pretty decent.

  11. One would hope he is in good shape and I do hope the best for him. But believe it was mentioned on here earlier that no matter he is owed like $10 million this year. That is a huge incentive for some and simply a huge payday for others. I hope it is the 1st with Odubel.

    1. I think the Phillies CF situation is very interesting. Can somebody take the bull by the horns, and claim the spot? I like Haseley. It looks like he’s bulked up a little bit. He’s shown (2019) that he can be a plus defender. Roman Quinn should be a late game asset off the bench as a pinch runner and defensive sub. Most likely, Girardi will platoon Haseley and Kingery.
      As I’ve posted numerous times previously, I don’t expect much from Odubel. When we last saw him play, he was in the middle of two pretty disastrous seasons (2018 and 2019) both offensively and defensively. I can’t imagine being out of action for almost two full calendar years is going to help.
      If Haseley/Quinn/Kingery all fail as full time CFer’s, maybe DD can send Odubel and his money to Tampa for Kevin Kiermaier and his bad contract. Kierairer won’t give you much with the bat, but he still is one of the best defenders in MLB. Kiermairer is owed 26+M over the next two seasons. Odubel would save Tampa more than 13M because he’s only owed 12.85M. The Rays have been eager to get out from under Kiermairer’s contract. Just a thought.

      1. Rays can also throw in one of their, what seems like, multiple high ceiling prospects to make that a more equitable exchange of capital and assets..
        Maybe a Goss or Baz.

  12. That is a big contract for Kiermaier. Romus maybe one of those flame throwing BP guys who are probably near bottom of pay scale. Surprised Rays paid out that much.

    1. Yeah….he is costly, for them….and a 31st round pick out of, of all places, Parkland College, not known as a baseball factory…. and now a 27bWAR player…go figure…it happens. Of course his defense makes up over half his career WAR.

      1. Romus i only eat dotties vegan donuts on 6th street between lombard and south, so good

  13. Rocco is that 25%? That is the figure they are using here in Indiana for the NCAA tourney.
    Romus still amazes me you can find all of this info. Must be from your Air Force training.

    1. Don53…not too difficult, it is all on the Baseball Reference site………
      …which they add new sections every year…..can almost find anything you need concerning baseball, if you can figure out how to get to that specific thread.
      That is the hard part.

  14. I am still amazed you found that 1972 roster. Even more amazing I still remembered about 10 or so of the guys. I only stayed a semester. If you cannot throw a baseball playing everyday probably not the ideal thing to do. I am surprised there were any references to something like that. Thanks for posting it.

  15. It’s 8,800 fans. 20% capacity for any outdoor stadium events, per city of Phila.

    And this can change (hopefully up, later in season)

    1. This could put an end to yet another Philadelphia original….the Pandemic Crew outside in LF.

      1. Sorry, Romus. Doesn’t hold a candle to the Wolf Pack or Padilla’s Flotilla. Interesting to see if the Rangers and Astros open up to full capacity now that Texas is lifting all restrictions next week.

          1. Packed up my car here in NC and got as far as Ohio, as I was listening to game yesterday Cozens struck out both times he came up. Pulled off the road and I’m in a holding pattern in a roadside stop living in a tent in Chillicothe Ohio. Making a decision on go or no go after next couple of games. Hey “Rocco Bag o Donuts” send me some vegan holes.

        1. —8800 @ CBP…apparently in pods of 2 and 4 and some 5-6.
          —a buddy of mine wanted to buy a 2-pod ticket for Mar 17th St Patty’s green game in two weeks …….all sold out….so he and the misses had to buy a 4-pod ticket .

  16. That would be great. They just raised the attendance to 25% here in the last week. Numbers are much better and I am sure Big10 and NCAA tourneys played major factor.

    1. Yes, Sandy Alderson should NEVER say Steve Cohen, who is worth $14.3 billion, at the very least, cannot afford a contract. It’s stupid and insulting.

  17. I know that it is a meaningless stat, but how does Nova get credited with the win in the game against the Tigers this (Wednesday) afternoon? Wasn’t Eflin still technically in the game when the Phillies went ahead 2-0?

    1. If you’re just asking for why it was ruled that way:

      Starting pitchers can’t be credited a win unless they pitch at least 5 innings. This rule doesn’t apply to RP, regardless of how early they enter the game.

      If you’re asking why the rule makes sense:

      It doesn’t. It’s just a relic of a by-gone era.

      1. In that same sense….an ‘opener’, as Cash and the Rays utilize thru a long season, can never get a win, since for the most part they only work the first two, maybe three innings.

  18. In spring training games, the starting pitcher can get the “win” by pitching ONE inning.

    1. For spring training, generally there is no official box score (or none made easily enough available to reporters). So the people reporting can just give the W to whoever they want. I don’t know if it’s still the case, but at least at one point on ESPN if the winner and loser wasn’t manually entered (which was rare in pre-season), it would just randomly choose them from the corresponding teams. Presumably because it was a required field to publish it on the website, but it wasn’t worth their time to actually determine the real winning and losing pitchers.

      So if you check multiple sites, they may have multiple different winning and losing pitchers. For example, today ESPN had Nova has the winning pitcher, but CBS literally didn’t list one.

      All of this to say, technically there are no winning and losing pitchers because the games don’t count. So they’re made up.

  19. I watched that incredible 76ers games last night. Here’s hoping Bryce Harper can have a Joel Embiid type season in 2021!

    1. Classic MLB and MLBPA negotiating standstill. Neither side got what they wanted AND the fans probably get the worst outcome of all. That said, I fully expect the next CBA to do both things (universal DH and expanded playoffs), but that will be a highly negotiated all-encompassing document.

    2. Romus – I think it hurts the Braves and Mets even more. Would you want Ozuna in LF ? Alonso or D Smith play 1B or LF – not a pretty defensive picture, either way Mets lose a top bat.

      1. No, it hurts the Phillies more because they are the most likely to finish behind the Mets and Braves and Padres (I’m assuming the Dodgers win their division) and be the last team to miss a playoff wild card spot.

        1. Agree with RU. The Mets and Braves D take major hits because of no DH. Dom Smith is a terrible LFer. Marcel Ozuna is a complete butcher in the OF.

          1. I hear you, but there are only two WC spots now and I see the Phillies as being worse than the Dodgers, Padres, Mets and Braves – they are the first team out. So yeah, viewed in isolation, not having a DH hurts the Braves and Mets more than the Phillies, BUT the Phillies are hurt much more than the Mets and Braves and Padres by the limited playoff field – or at least that’s how I see it. Time will tell.

          2. Really hard to gauged who it will hurt the most….LFers Ozuna and Smith may out-hit their defense liabilities and overcome their poor DRS metrics…if they do not, then good for the Phillies.
            But the Philies reti=urn the same defensive team as last year…..and they were below the MLB average, so does it really matter with Ozuna and Smith

      1. From what I gather….rank and file, the players, want both.
        NL pitchers want the DH and all the players want to have a better opportunity to play in October.
        Agree……stinks and no one benefits.

  20. Interesting swing by Kingery today. Not because it was a wind aided homer early in spring training. That’s fun but as we all know, doesn’t necessarily translate to the regular season. What is interesting was that he didn’t stride. It may be his new two strike approach to not stride. Harper did that last year and Bichette does that all the time. Cuts down on K rate. In 2019, Harper’s K rate w 2 strikes was 46%. Last year it was 35%. Massive improvement. wRC+ w two strikes went from 59 to 89. wOBA went up from .265 to .305. So it works to cut down on load with two strikes. Hope it helps Kingery too.

  21. I have always thought choking up slightly with 2 strikes also gives you better bat command. Good for Scott. Hope this proves to be a positive approach for him. Agree that it helped Harper at times last season.

      1. This is different than choking up. This is cutting down on the pre-launch movement. Similar mindset but different technique.

  22. What is not to like about Nick Maton? Like the plate discipline. Short, compact swing. Good base runner. Reliable defender.

    Also … give DD credit for acquiring pitching depth. This team has lacked it for entire MacKlentak era.

    1. Hinkie…..he does remind me of Mets’ Jeff McNeil…….just wish he could hit like him on a consistent basis.
      And how about that Luke Williams….rocco’s boy!
      Williams .taking up from where he left off in Australia.

    2. Agreed on Maton. What’s really surprised me is how strong Maton has become. He is built more like a corner outfielder than a middle infielder. If there’s power lurking in that swing – and there well might be – we could be looking at a player who could exceed his expected ceiling. Very intriguing.

  23. Now that pitchers are throwing harder than ever it only makes sense to choke up at times. I get so frustrated watching hitters swing as hard as they can especially when runners are on base. I see this in the travel leagues my grandson plays in. One guy hits a home run and 10 or 12 others strike out.. There might be more benefit actually in putting the ball in play for a hit somewhere or even making the defense have to make a play. Walking back to the dugout with your bat on your shoulder does not put much pressure on the defense. That is my biggest complaint of how the game is played today. It is the same at all levels with few exceptions.

    1. Yeah I also see that.
      The one factor that the MLB guys say that has made it a TTO (Three True Outcomes—-HR-BB-K) approach is the defensive shifts that are now being utilized.
      The hitters have to hit it harder with more lift to get it over the infielder playing shallow outfield…or swing hard to get it thru the defensive “MLB Maginot Line”.

  24. Maybe they could hit the ball to the half side of the field that has one fielder or in some cases no fielders. Today’s game is on MLB here at 4 on tape delay. Looking forward to catching a few innings. How are you guys watching these Spring Training games?

    1. Don … the game is being televised on CSN Philly live here in the tri-state area.

      1. Hinkie I live in Indiana. I have Direct TV. I have the game today on MLB on a delay. They show some of the games live. However, several of the teams are on some of the channels. I am going to guess five or six have Spring games on fairly frequently.
        But I have never caught a Phillies game this way. During the regular season I have the MLB Extra Inning package so I get almost every game all season. I tell friends it is the best $180 I spend. It is like #30 a month for 6 months.

    2. Good in theory, not in practice. There’s a reason people like Bryce bunt to “beat” the shift; it’s nigh impossible to have that much control over the ball when you actually swing. If you want to argue that bunting is better than swinging, we can have that conversation; it’s a little more murky. But as far as, “just hit it the other way” well… if they could choose where they hit the ball, we’d be seeing way more .300 hitters.

  25. HR Mickey Mo!
    Way to go, Matt M!
    BTW … Matt, announcers asked Joe G (during 4th inning) what has impressed him so far in ST. Girardi said he’s been impressed with Mickey’s ABs.

          1. Hopefully this will encourage patience around here with him. His upside was always projectable so it was going to take time. I’m very excited to see what this season brings!

            Standing by my statement, Haseley or Moniak or both will take a significant step forward this year!

  26. Mickey Moniak with HR!
    Hinkie, thanks for noting Girardi’s comment. Cool to hear especially given it was BEFORE the HR.
    So glad we didn’t sell low on him. I still believe he has good upside!

    Congrats Matt M on seeing some fruit for all of Mickey’s hard work.

  27. Hinkie….house for sale ..not far from you…interested?
    Woodstown, NJ ….located in Salem County, the home was built in 1995 and sits on an 11-acre lot, adjacent to a 23-acre farm that’s also for sale for an additional $299,000. The listing on RedFin includes 46 interior and exterior photos of the property…. 7,408-sq-ft… five bedrooms….. 4.5 bathrooms….three-car garage…. custom bar, gym, and home theater that seats 10 people, as well as a detached entertainment center with an indoor endless pool, game room loft, work center and a hunting room with a walk-in safe.
    ….in June 2016 house sold for $950,000…now asking $1.7M
    Previous owner….QB for the Philadelphia Eagles now relocated to Indian with new job..

    1. I Might look at it romus. i got to leave the city, Kenny has ruin it for us, Yesterday, my son was at ross on 24th street, with his autistic son, Guy threw a brick thru the window and just missed his kid, people getting rob every day in my area and i live in want is consider prime area, like packer park, i hate guns, but i have loaded gun on my tv in living room, in my room and in my basement, both my son carry, shame i have to leave, south philly which i love,

      1. yeah rocco…understand how you feel….even many folk heading a few miles west to Berks.

        1. Yeah, Romus. Here’s the house.

          We put an offer in last night. However, the realtor just called my wife to let us know we were outbid by some guy from South Philly. Welcome to the Garden State, rocco! Make sure to invite Mike Trout over. Lots of land for you guys to hunt.

          1. … also … a couple of years ago, Wentz was in North Wildwood to check out the new luxury townhouses being built on the back bay (just over the bridge & just before the super Wawa). He ended up not buying one. My sister and brother-in-law have a house down the street, and were hoping to have the Eagles QB as a neighbor.
            Probably best for Wentz that he didn’t buy. He’d have two homes on the market now instead of one.


  28. Romus you had to get Indiana in. More than likely Wentz ends up where I taught for 30 plus years. A large number of Colt players live there. Just north of Indy.

    Dan I think you give hitters not enough credit to adjust. Most could adjust if they wanted. Back in the day years ago hitters used the entire field all the time. If the entire field is used that greatly reduces the desire to use the shift. I am not saying every hitter could do that but a lot could. We might see higher batting averages along the way. Would be interesting for some one to take a specific hitter and just see what they would hit if there was no shift in place. I am sure someone does it but I personally have never seen any individual hitter analyzed. I am not big on a bunt especially if there are runners on base early in game.

    Romus and I discussed Didi one day and the quick wrists that he has. Probably would be next to impossible for him to go the other way with success.

    1. Nah, I give hitters a ton of credit. Hitting a baseball thrown by a MLB pitcher is one of the most difficult things in the world; not just in sports. But I think your memory is being heavily weighted by a few outliers (most of whom are now in the HoF). To be sure, I guess we’d need to define when “back in the day” constitutes and then go over those specific players.

      But most players simply do NOT have that type of control over the bat where they can make solid contact with altered swings. Especially not against pitchers who can throw 95+ and/or pitches with ridiculous movement. Which compounds to the issue: pitchers now are better than pitchers back in the day. Again, some exceptions. But most of those exceptions are enshrined.

      Just for fun, I generated the batted ball profile of MLB from 2002-2020 (2002 was as far back as Fangraphs had batted ball data for the league). Interestingly, 2020 ranked 5th in pull% at 41% (2019 was 6th at 40.7%). Even more interestingly, the numbers 1-4 spots were occupied by 2002-2005.

      But just to be clear, since 2002 the MLB hasn’t seen a strong shift in batted ball profile. There’s been a slight shift of oppo% to cent%, but we’re talking 2-3%. Pull% has been remarkably consistent. Especially if you take out 2002-2005 (between 38.8% and 41% without those years, and between 38.8% and 43.9% with them).

      There is just one area of the batted ball profile that has changed drastically since 2002… and it actually helps account for the oppo% shift to cent%: bunt hits are WAY down (the percentage of them is actually pretty consistent as well, just the overall number of attempts has tanked).

      So yeah. At least since 2002, I don’t see anything to suggest that players have all that much control over where they put the ball in play. Generally it’s dependent on the pitcher; the type of pitch and its location correlates much more strongly with pull/cent/oppo% than anything the batter does.

  29. I am not letting my emotions get on the Mickey Moniak hype train until I see it over a larger sample size against MLB pitchers during the regular season…But hot damn, it would be so great if Mickey turns out to be a dude in CF. It certainly happens. Late bloomers happen. Maybe something clicked. And he is still only 22. Obviously he has some tools. Would be so great if Mickey a legit high impact bat.

    1. I am trying to remember but didnt it take ,Mike lieberthal l time to mature

      1. Lieberthal was never a great hitter. His bat played because he was a catcher. But wasn’t really ever an impact bat except 1999. That was a good year for him. but not much else. Career ops of .783. He as a good defensive catcher though.

        1. True, but hitting better in the MLB than in the minors still qualifies as a late bloomer in my book. Maybe not the best example, but an example nonetheless.

      1. If a prospect is going to make the major leagues, you generally see more developmental progress than Moniak has shown (had shown?) in 5+ years of professional baseball. Sometimes “late bloomer” refers to a players age, but sometimes it refers to the number of years it takes to “click”. Mickey certainly isn’t old, but he’s behind the traditional developmental curve in terms of years as a pro.

        Which is fine. Sometimes a player needs more time or a different environment. And he should be proud of reaching the heights he’s at even now. But we couldn’t realistically expect him to be a major league regular prior to what we’re currently seeing. I’m just glad the organization didn’t give up on him (which is not out of the realm of possibility for a prospect that has, again, been in the organization over 5 years without much offensive progress to show for it).

  30. Dylan Cozens struck out in his only appearance yesterday. So home run first game and three strikeouts afterwards, heading back home.

      1. And today Cozens had 3 ABs with 2 Ks and a flyout. For those scoring at home, DC has 7 ABs this ST with 1HR, 1 Fly out and 5 is. Suitcase out and getting ready to pack.

          1. Wow, you are correct.

            MLB Draft is such a “crap shoot”. Look at who the Phillies took in the 1st round, we had 2 picks including the comp pick; Shane Watson and Mitch Grueller, 2 pitchers that did nothing.

            1. Yep…a crap shoot….only 8 of the 60 ‘first ‘ round selections have career double digit MLB WAR….13%

            2. Maybe we should take all eligible draftees and put in a rookie league after HS & college for a year then have them drafted. Just a wild thought.

            3. Good thought….too much $$$$….they are trying to contract now….and they will have something similar in the four partner leagues: the American Association, Atlantic League, Frontier League and Pioneer League. ….but teams will still have to scout with better eyes

  31. It is true: competition brings out the best in players.
    A week ago, we weren’t sure how the BOR would look, and we didn’t know if this team could win with any of the CFers on the roster.
    It’s real early … but … so far, Matt Moore, VV, Chase Anderson, and Spencer Howard(!) look great, and even Adonis Medina was impressive in his outing.
    And Adam Haseley, Scott Kingery, Roman Quinn, Odubel, and Mickey Moniak have all been very good in the OF.
    Dave Dombrowski don’t play. 🙂

  32. It’s a whole new world in 2021. No more Jared Hughes or Nick Vincent coming out of the pen to face Juan Soto, Freddie Freeman, and Michael Conforto. Say hello to my “little” friend: Jose Alvarado throwing 100 from the left side (and it’s only March 5)!!!!!!

  33. Fun stuff, Hinkie! 10Ks, 1 BB, over 7 from guys who should all be on the Staff to come North. I expect Alvarado, Bradley, Neris and Brogdon to close out a lot of games for us this year, in whichever order that Joe G deploys them.

      1. Yeah, matt. I’ve had a man crush on Jose Alvarado since he came into the league in 2017. I’d still be lusting after him from afar if Middleton hadn’t rid the FO of MacKlentak. Thank you, DD (he don’t play)!

        1. Such a relief, no pun intended.

          I was so done with watching right-handed relievers come in the game with no out pitch throwing 89-93. It was a foregone conclusion that they were going to get hammered. It really was amazing what DD did in such a short amount of time with his hands tied a little on the payroll. I know they haven’t played a real game yet, but the progress appears to be real.

    1. He was ranked 24th in fWAR of all MLB pitchers last season…….he missed qualifying for starters leader board by one less inning pitched….59 vs 60.

  34. Assuming that Herrera, Kintzler and Watson make the 26 man roster, which three players would you remove from the current 40 man roster, assuming that no one is traded or goes on the DL between now and opening day? Right now, my nominees would be Hale, Russo and Falter. Your thoughts?

    1. I think if Anderson/Moore don’t make the team, they’ll be released to seek opportunities elsewhere.

      So if I have to pick three (I personally don’t think Doobie makes the opening day roster), I’ll go with whichever of those two doesn’t make the cut, Hale, and Chatham.

      Chatham seems to me to be the most likely to clear waivers. Everyone is looking for pitching depth. Most teams are pretty set on infielders.

  35. Dan

    Barring injury, my guess is that both Moore and Anderson will make the team and also will be in the staring rotation. Vinny then goes to the bullpen and Howard to the Alternative Site, wherever that is.

    With Hasley’s injury, Dobbie probably is a shoo-in to make the team. We are agreed that Hale is likely to be cut, and Chatham is a good call by you. However, another player will have to come off the 40 man roster in order to make room for Moore or Anderson.

    1. I would be surprised if Dombrowski waives Chatham…a player he originally drafted, then later trades for….but never know, I am still waiting for Trader Dave to do his patented GM maneuver.

      1. In my view, Chatham was a hedge against not being able to sign Didi or another infielder. The thought being Kingery would become a starter and Chatham would take over the super-utility role, while also giving us the option of having Kingery in CF and Chatham at whatever IF spot he would have otherwise covered. I definitely think DD believes there’s untapped potential there, but considering the cost to acquire him he probably also assumes there’s a non-zero chance he clears waivers.

        So we’ll see. But I don’t personally expect him on the opening day roster barring any trades to free up space.

        1. Yeah…..I do not see Chatham on the 26 going north…..but still see him sitting on the 40 in AAA. My guess Dave D will not DFA him to clear 40 spots for the NRIs…the relievers mostly… who right now look like good bets to make the active roster.

        2. I don’t think there is room for Chatham; Torreys is probably a better fielder and can play all IF positions. Does he have any options remaining?

    2. I think they go with Quinn and Kingery as our CF and 4th OF (in whatever depth order Girardi prefers). Or if they want to move on from Quinn, Moniak. I also think they want Howard in the rotation because it may be the only place he can truly continue to develop. I could see a possible 6-man rotation, though, to help keep his innings down.

      But if both pitchers make it, and Doobie is in fact the choice for CF, then maybe it’s Quinn who’s released. His speed is electric, but if they’re done waiting for the bat to develop, I don’t think he’s worth the spot on the roster. We’ve already got a lot of speed on the team; the only person he’d be pinch running for would be pitchers. And if he’s coming in for a pitcher, that means he’s probably hitting. So at that point why not have Miller, Kingery, or Joyce (if he makes the team) come in instead?

      1. Quinn is a likely trade candidate. There will be teams that will jump at the chance to add that speed to bench. Herrera and Kingery both may make team with Haseley on DL to start. Moniak very very likely to start in AAA, but don’t count him out. He is getting much better from the little bit I have seen in video/TV and could work his way to being a midseason callup.

  36. I’ll admit I’ve never been too excited about Enyel DLS. Up until this week I hadn’t had reason to change my mind. But his velocity increase, hitting 96 repeatedly today (he averaged ~93.3 in 2019) and his strong performance today (struck out the side of Springer, Bichette, Semien) has caught my attention.

    DD signed or traded for gas but it appears the org maybe finally has been doing something that unlocks more velocity in our pitchers!

    1. Driveline instruction from what they have been saying.
      I think it was Rosso, or one of the other minor league pitchers, mentioned it the other day how they noticed their velo went up 2 or 3 ticks than in the past.

  37. I’ll say it again, I’ve been a believer, optimistic for the transformation we’ve been seeing for two years now. Bringing in Bonifay, Barber, and Girardi were huge. I believe we are just beginning to see the fruit now. And of course DD (and Fuld) are the icing to a truly strong leadership team! I’m becoming even more optimistic! Stay patient my friends!

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