Category Archives: Other Stuff

Pace of Play Editorial

Several weeks ago we conducted a poll on Pace of Play.  Around the time that I ran the poll, there was a lot of sentiment both for and against changes that might address the perceived slow pace of play in major league games.

Baseball articles and discussions showed that current players, former players, and baseball personalities were in favor of leaving the game as is.  Any call for change was dismissed as lacking merit and love of the game.  Some characterized those in favor of change as trying to pander to millennials, who apparently are perceived as not having the mental acuity to appreciate a three-plus hour game of baseball.  Others point to ownership placing revenue over the game.

Those in favor of change claim to be concerned with the future of the game and worry that longer games put baseball in jeopardy of losing some fans, but more importantly not gaining new fans among younger viewers who are characterized as needing action to maintain their interest.  This group includes some from among the groups mentioned above as well as MLB corporate and by extension ownership.

I come down strongly in the group advocating change.  I am far from a millennial, but I do not care to invest 3-4 hours of my time watching a baseball game that does not include my “home” team.  Some will say I’m not a baseball fan then.  Well, I’m not.  I’m a Phillies fan.

But, I’m enough of a baseball fan to root for my Phillies from Clearwater.  I’m enough of a baseball fan to drag my deteriorating body to the Carpenter Complex in January and February to watch early reports workout prior to spring training,  I’m enough of a baseball fan to watch the Phillies spring training work outs, the minor league work outs, Grapefruit League games, and minor league games.  I’m enough of a fan to attend extended spring training and GCL games in the morning and afternoon and still go to Clearwater Threshers games at night.  I’m enough of a fan to attend Instructional League work outs and games.  I’m enough of a fan to share all my observations here.  And I’m enough of a fan to watch and cover men’s fast pitch baseball in November and just watch Phantasy Camp in January.  But, I do not enjoy watching a four-hour, nationally televised Yankees/Red Sox game.  Sue me.

One of the recurring themes I’ve heard in the sentiment against change is the preservation of the sanctity of the game, most often in response to doing the unthinkable and introducing a clock into the game.  You would think that the Rules of Baseball were inviolate and that the rules were never changed.

Well overlooking the obvious introduction of the designated hitter in 1973, to create more scoring and generate more interest in the game, there have been innumerable changes to baseball.  Here are some historical facts.

Baseball became a “thing” back in the mid-19th century.  The first set of rules was established by the Knickerbocker Club.  They made changes as follows –

  • Prior to 1857, a game ended when one side scored 21 aces (runs). It was changed to a nine inning contest with the team scoring the higher total aces as the winner.
  • 1858 – Called strikes are introduced into the game.
  • 1858 – A batter is out on a batted ball, fair or foul, if caught on the fly or after one bounce.
  • 1858 – The base runner is no longer required to touch each base in order.
  • 1863 – The pitcher’s box is declared to be 12 feet by 4 feet.
  • 1863 –  The pitcher is no longer allowed to take a step during his delivery and he has to pitch with both feet on the ground at the same time.
  • 1864 – Out on a fair bound is removed and the “fly catch” of fair balls is adopted.
  • 1864 –  Each base runner must touch each base in making the circuit.
  • 1867 – Pitcher’s box is now made into a 6 foot square. Pitcher is now permitted to move around inside this box.
  • 1867 – The batter is given the privilege of calling for a low or high pitch.
  • 1872 – Ball size and weight are regulated and remain the same to this date.

The National League took over regulating the rules of baseball (eventually turning this over to the Major League).

  • 1877 – Canvas bases 15 inches square were introduced.
  • 1877 – Home plate was placed in the angle formed by the intersection of the first and third base lines.
  • 1879 – The number of “called balls” became 9 and all balls were either strikes, balls or fouls.
  • 1880 – A base on balls was reduced to 8 “called balls.”
  • 1880 – The catcher had to catch the pitch on the fly in order to register an out on a third strike.
  • 1883 – The “foul bound catch” was abolished.
  • 1883 – The pitcher could deliver a ball from above his waist.
  • 1884 – All restrictions on the delivery of a pitcher were removed.
  • 1884 – Six “called balls” became a base on balls.
  • 1885 – One portion of the bat could be flat (one side).
  • 1887 – The pitcher’s box was reduced to 4 feet by 5 1/2 feet.
  • 1887 – Calling for high and low pitches was abolished.
  • 1887 – Five balls became a base on balls.
  • 1887 – Four “called strikes” were adopted for this season only.
  • 1887 –  The batter was awarded first base when hit by a pitch.
  • 1889 – Four balls became a base on balls.
  • 1893 – Pitching distance increased from 50 feet to 60 feet 6 inches.
  • 1893 – The pitching box was eliminated and a rubber slab 12 inches by 4 inches was substituted.
  • 1893- The pitcher was required to place his rear foot against the slab.
  • 1893 – The rule allowing a flat side to a bat was rescinded and the requirement that the bat be round and wholly of hard wood was substituted.
  • 1894 – Foul bunts were classified as strikes.
  • 1895 – Pitching slab was enlarged to 24 inches by 6 inches.
  • 1895 – Bats were permitted to be 2 3/4 inches in diameter and not to exceed 42 inches.
  • 1895 – Infield-fly rule was adopted.
  • 1895 – A held foul tip was classified as a strike.
  • 1901 – Catchers were compelled to remain continuously under the bat.
  • 1904 – Height of the mound was limited to 15 inches higher than the level of the baselines.
  • 1908 – Pitchers were prohibited from soiling a new ball.
  • 1920 – All freak deliveries, including the spitball, were outlawed.
  • 1925 – Pitcher was allowed to use a resin bag.
  • 1925 – The minimum home-run distance was set at 250 feet.
  • 1931 – Defensive interference was changed from an offense solely by a catcher to one by a fielder as well.
  • 1953 – Players were to remove their gloves from the field (in 1954) when batting and no equipment was to show on the field at any time.
  • 1959 – Regulations were set up for minimum boundaries for all new parks, 325-400-325 feet.
  • 1968 – The anti-spitball rule was rewritten and tightened up because of the wave of moistened pitches that floated plateward the prior season.
  • 1969 – The pitcher’s mound was dropped five inches.
  • 1969 – The strike zone was shrunken to the area from the armpits to the top of the batter’s knees.
  • 1971 – All major-league players were ordered to wear protective helmets.
  • 1973 – The rule on glove size and color was minutely outlined for standardization.
  • 1973 – The American League began using designated hitter for pitchers on an  experimental basis.
  • 2008 – MLB adds limited (home run calls, fair or foul) instant reply to be in effect for all games starting on Friday, August 29th.
  • 2016 – Slides on potential double plays will require that base runners must make a bona fide attempt to reach and remain on base.

The above rules were gleaned from the Baseball Almanac.  I don’t know why the rule governing plays at the play isn’t included.  There are many more rules that I didn’t list here.  But, you can see by some of these rules that the game of baseball was nothing like the product we now watch and enjoy.

I’m sure that when some of the above rules were introduced that baseball purists decried the rule changes as tarnishing the sanctity of the game.  But if change wasn’t embraced the game would look a lot different.

When I ran the poll, I expected to do a follow up poll on the types of changes to accelerate the game.  But as I watched early returns, I saw that most voters wanted to keep the game as it is.  That’s when I did the research on changes.  I had read a book titled “Baseball in the Garden of Eden: The Secret History of the Early Game” by John Thorn.  So, I knew that baseball went through an enormous amount of change to get to its current version.

By the end of the poll, sentiment had swung in favor of making changes to improve the pace of play.  But the vote was close, a difference of just 5 votes..

Pace of Play Poll 2017 (Poll Closed)

Pace is too slow, make changes. 50.8%  

Pace of play is fine, leave the game alone. 49.2% 
 

So, I decided not to run a poll among such a closely divided group.

Baseball has since come up with some rule changes.  One is the automatic intentional walk without throwing a pitch.  That should save about 30 seconds for each IBB.  Progress.

But in order to keep the discussion going, I’ll list the changes I would like to see implemented.  I know some are pretty radical.  I’m not looking for you to agree or point out why they are bad.  I’m just listing ways to improve the pace of play in a game that has become “unwatchable” for me.

  1. Replay – Get the call right! If you have to replace the umpires with computers like they have in tennis, then do it.  Mistakes may be part of the game, but they shouldn’t be.
  2. Since I’m advocating replacing umpires, put them in a central location to review plays in all games as they happen. If they see a close play, review it quickly without the need for a challenge like the Big Ten does (did?) in football.
  3. The strike zone – Strike zone issues become moot when you replace the umpires. The current strike zone if called correctly and consistently is fine. If/when a change is needed, it’s a software upgrade and you won’t have umpires sticking with their own strike zones.  An automated strike zone would prevent umpires from favoring established pitchers.  (I’m a Phillies fan and was distressed at the extra six inches of plate that Glavine and Maddux got from umpires).
  4. And, pitch framing would stop being a “thing”. Come on, baseball. The framing occurs AFTER the ball passes through or misses the strike zone. If umpires are fooled by framing, that’s just another reason to support an automated strike zone.
  5. Extra innings – Starting extra innings with a runner on second is just silly. It’s a heck of a way to lose a game in the WBC.  I understand trying it in rookie leagues to gather data.  But, extra innings don’t happen enough in the GCL to collect enough data to mean anything (IMO).
  6. Trips to the mound – The biggest change I’m in favor of to speed up the game is to limit the number of visits that a catcher (or any player or person for that matter) can make to the mound. I would say no one can ever go to the mound. NEVER. Pitching change? Call the bull pen and a new pitcher comes on with no coach or manager on the mound, throws one pitch to get the feel of the mound (what was he doing in the bullpen before the call? WARMING UP!). Then continue the game.
  7. Pitch clock – They used one in the Florida State League.  It works.  Pitchers CAN throw a pitch in a set amount of time.  I saw more strikes assessed to the batter for stalling than balls awarded because a pitcher couldn’t beat the clock.
  8. And, stop allowing the batter to leave the batter’s box.  That rule was already passed. Enforce it.  Big Papi has retired.  He’s not here to challenge the rule any more.
  9. The automatic intentional walk – This doesn’t save enough time to allow a trip to the kitchen.  Bring it back, overthrows DO happen.

I’m at least partially serious about all of the above.  I know baseball is totally against the introduction of a clock of any kind.  But, there is a rule in place that requires the pitcher to throw a pitch within a certain amount of time.  If it were enforced, discussion of a clock might have been avoided.  (Rule 5.07(c) formerly Rule 8.04:  When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.”  The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball. The intent of this rule is to avoid unnecessary delays. The umpire shall insist that the catcher return the ball promptly to the pitcher, and that the pitcher take his position on the rubber promptly. Obvious delay by the pitcher should instantly be penalized by the umpire.)

And, labor relations make replacing even the worst umpires next to impossible.  So, replacing them all is really impossible.  But I’ve seen an umpire blow a perfect game, cost the Phillies a playoff game, cost the Cardinals a world series win, and elevate a Derek Jeter fly out into a home run because a home town fan interfered with the ball.  And the fact that baseball fans probably know which four plays I’m referring to indicates just how atrocious these calls were.

Time to get the calls right.  Time to speed up the pace of play.  Time to voice your opinions.

 

 

 

Too Slow or Not Too Slow, That is the Question

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced in a press conference today his frustration at the MLBPA’s “lack of cooperation” making any changes aimed at improving the pace of play.  The commissioner’s comments came in the wake of statements by the MLBPA’s Tony Clark.  The Executive Director indicated the association’s unwillingness to incorporate any changes this season.

Since the “presser”, I have seen comments and tweets whose general sentiment is that baseball “purists” are happy with the game as it is.  In fact, if you are in favor of change, you aren’t a true fan.

So, I am curious about the opinion of Phuture Phillies readers.  The poll is simple.  Yes or no to change.  It’s anonymous.  No comments.  So, if you aren’t a “true fan”, no one will know.  I’ll follow this up with the results.  And maybe a follow up poll if necessary.

Phillies 2017 Projected Arbitration Salaries

MLB Trade Rumors has published their annual Projected Arbitration Salaries article for players who are eligible for this year’s arbitration process.

The Phillies have several players who are arbitration eligible.  MLBTR offered projections for four of them.

  • Player                            Service Time    2017 Projection    2016 Salary    Projected Increase
  • Jeanmar Gomez       (5.063 yrs)               $4.6MM                   $1.4MM                     $3.2MM
  • Freddy Galvis              (4.021 yrs)               $4.4MM                    $2.0MM                    $2.4MM
  • Cody Asche                   (3.022 yrs)              $1.3MM                     $525K                        $775K
  • Cesar Hernandez       (2.154 yrs)              $2.5MM                     $530K                       $1.97MM

Darin Ruf, Emmanuel Burriss, and Frank Hermann entered the off season as arbitration eligibles.  Burriss and Hermann have already been outrighted.  Ruf will likely be outrighted also.  I heard around the Complex that he has a $4MM offer to play in Japan.  If true, that is significantly more than his 2016 salary of $527K, and more than he could reasonably expect to make through arbitration or free agency.

Okay, one more thing.  I’ve got nothing against the guy, but I just don’t see how a slash of .213/.284/.360/.635 in 71 games (218 PA/197 AB) with 4 HR and 18 RBI should project Asche for a raise of about 147%.  He joined the MLB team on June 2nd this season and was optioned to Lehigh Valley on August 12th.  I wish I got raises like this when I worked in the private sector.

Oh, one more “one more thing”, Jimmy Paredes and Patrick Schuster have elected to declare free agency.

Post Season Report Card–Relief Pitchers, Top Half of Organization

Final report card of the year looking at relief pitchers at the upper parts of the organization.

Lehigh Valley

Luis Garcia, 29, Signed as a free agent in 2013; 48G; 6-3 with a 2.14ERA; 13SV; 54.2IP 38H 24BB 53K; .203 opp avg; 1.13 WHIP; 2.09 GO/AO; 4.0BB/8.7K per 9; .203 vs LHH, .203 vs RHH; After throwing in 72 games for the Phillies in 2015, I was surprised to see Garcia start the season in Lehigh Valley and I was even more surprised that with the lack of bullpen depth in Philly, he didnt receive more of an opportunity with the big club before September.  He pitched well for Lehigh Valley and is out of options next season.  Grade: C+; 2017: ELsewhere, based on the lack of big league opportunity this season.

James Russell, 30, Signed as a free agent in 2016; 29G (13 starts) for Lehigh Valley; 3-5 with a 4.29ERA; 79.2IP 88H 19BB 49K; 11HR allowed; .272 opp avg; 1.34 WHIP; 0.74 GO/AO; 2.1BB/5.5K per 9; .176 vs LHH, .301 vs RHH, .346 last 30 days; Russell started the year in Philly and was sent down to Lehigh Valley after several awful outings.  He pitched well for Lehigh Valley in multiple roles in the seasons final month where he really ran out of gas.  Grade: C; 2017: Elsewhere

Dailier Hinojosa, 30, Acquired off of waivers from Boston in 2015; 22 games; 1-3 with a 2.96ERA; 24.1IP 25H 14BB 23K; .281 opp avg; 1.60 WHIP; 0.64 GO/AO; 5.2BB/8.5K per 9; Hinojosa was expected to be a key member of the Phils bullpen.  That didnt happen.  First, he was ineffective for the Phils, then was injured and after he came off the DL was very inconistent for Lehigh Valley.  Grade: C-; 2017: I would be surprised if he were back

Colton Murray, 26, Phils 13th round pick in 2011; 27G; 2-2 with a 2.95ERA; 36.2IP 31H 15BB 36K; .230 opp avg; 1.25 WHIP; 0.97 GO/AO; 3.7BB/8.9K per 9; .242 vs LHH,. .259 vs RHH; Murray pitched well for Lehigh Valley but has struggled during multiple stints with the Phillies; I would expect him to spend another year as pitcher #14-15 in the organization, bouncing back and forth to Philly when (if) injuries occur.  Grade: C+

Elvis Arajuo, 25, SIgned as a free agent in 2014; 18G, 1-0 with a 2.18ERA; 20.2IP 15H 6BB 19K; .195 opp avg; 1.02WHIP; 0.87 GO/AO; 2.6BB/8.3K per 9; .148 opp avg last 30 days; Arajuo pitched very poorly for the Phils in 32 games this season, struggling with his control and simply getting hit around.  To his credit, he came down to AAA and threw well, but the Phils saw enough of Arajuo to not call him back up in September, leaving you wondering what his future with the organization may be.

Joely Rodriguez, 24, Acquired from Pittsburgh in 2014; 53G; 7-0 with a 2.35ERA across 3 levels; 5SV; 76.2IP 65H 23BB 69K; .237 opp avg; 1.15 WHIP; 2.06 GO/AO; 2.7BB/8.1K per 9; For LV: 13G, 0-0 with a 2.79ERA; 19.1IP 16H 6BB 18K; .232 opp avg; 1.14 WHIP; 2.8BB/8.4K per 9; Rodriguez left 2015 as a failed starting pitcher and was removed from the 40 man roster.  He successfully reinvented himself as a left handed high leverage reliever and did an excellent job. One of his primary issues in ’15 was his control, which was much improved this season.  With his call up to Philly in September, much rides on his performance as the role of LOOGY at the highest level is open for the taking.  Grade: A- Continue reading Post Season Report Card–Relief Pitchers, Top Half of Organization

Post Season Report Card–Outfield

A look at the Outfield throughout the organization.  Next up: Relief Pitchers, Wed or Thur

Lehigh Valley

Nick WIlliams, 23, Acquired from Texas in 2015; .258/.287/.427 in 497AB; 13HR 64RBI; 6/10SB; 4%BB/26%K; .231 vs LHP; .273 vs RHP; .152 last 30 days; Since Aug 1, Williams hit .172 with a 1%BB/37%K rate; 122 games in the OF with 3 errors (.989); 6 OF assists; My pre-season expectation for WIlliams was hitting around .285-.290 with 10-12HR and 15SB prior to a July call to Philly.  What actually happened is that WIlliams was benched on three separate occasions prior to August for disciplinary reasons and he went on to finish the season with a borderline unprecedented BB/K rate over the seasons final month plus.  His ability would come out for a few weeks and he would then retreat into some combination of a baseball purists nightmare.  Grade: C-; 2017: Lehigh Valley

Cam Perkins, Soon to be 26, Phils 7th round pick in 2012; .292/.329/.419 in 408AB; 8HR 47RBI; 11/15SB; .316 vs LHP; .274 vs RHP; .314 last 30 days; 5%BB/14%K; 103 games in the OF with 7 errors (.972); 3 OF assists;  The numbers are decent for Perkins but not good enough to warrant a look at the big league level.  The walk rate needs to go up, and Perkins needs to be more of a run producer to get that major league look.  Surprisingly, Perkins went from 2 errors and 15 OF assists in ’15 to 7 errors and just 3 OF assists this year.  Grade: B-; 2017: I expect Perkins to be left Rule 5 unprotected and expect him to go undrafted and back to Lehigh Valley

Cedric Hunter, 28, Signed as a free agent in 2016; .294/.324/.433 in 330AB with Lehigh Valley; 10HR 53RBI; 6/9SB; 4%BB/16%K; .313 vs LHP; .284 vs RHP; .286 last 30 days; 75 games in the OF without an error; 1 OF assist; Hunter started the year with Phils and was sent fairly quickly when people got healthy as he wasn’t performing.  For Lehigh Valley, he was the most consistent outfielder all year, hitting the ball hard and playing a good OF.  Hunter is a AAAA player who many organizations will be glad to have around.  Grade: B+; 2017: Likely another organization with all the young talent below, although would love to see him back.  He is fun to watch.

Cody Asche, 26, Phils 4th round pick in 2011; .279/.350/.514 in 111AB for Lehigh Valley; 6HR 15RBI; 1SB; 9%BB/21%K; .229 vs LHP; .303 vs RHP; .302 last 30 days; 16 games in the OF with 1 error (.973); 7 games at 3B with 1 error (.923); 3 games at 1B without an error; Asche was optioned to Lehigh Valley after hitting .213/.281/.362 in 174AB with the Phils this year, to go along with a 23% K rate.  Pre season, I expected Asche to be a productive member of the Phils OF.  Between his injury in SPring Training and then his performance once off the DL, 2016 was a major disappointment for Asche.  That said, kudos to Asche for not sulking when sent down and performing well at multiple positions for Lehigh Valley late in the season.  I expect to see Asche back with the Phils in 2017 with Altherr, Bourjos and Goeddel all question marks for the ’17 roster.

Reading

Dylan Cozens, 22, Phils 2nd round pick in 2012; .276/.350/.591 in 521AB; 40HR 125RBI; 21SB;  10%BB/32%K; .197 vs LHP; .302 vs RHP; .234 last 30 days; .295/.374/.744 with 29HR 83RBI at home; .259/.325/.441 with 11HR 42RBI on the road; 128 games in the OF with 5 errors (.982); 12 OF assists; The overall stats, before you dig in are mind blowing.  Team records for HR and RBI to go along with a 20+ SB season and double digits in OF assists.  Then comes the negative.  The very average player Cozens becomes on the road and his .197 average with a 42% K rate against left handed pitching.  Grade: A-; 2017: Lehigh Valley Continue reading Post Season Report Card–Outfield

Post Season Report Card–Catchers

Next up are the organizations catchers.  A reminder that grades are based on pre-season expectations for that player vs. actual production.  Look for the report on Outfielders, Tuesday or Wednesday.

Lehigh Valley

Andy Knapp, 24, Phils 2nd round pick in 2013; .266/.330/.390 in 403AB; 8HR 46RBI; 2/4SB; 8%BB/24%K; .277 vs LHP; .258 vs RHP; .253 last 30 days; 104 games caught with 7 errors (.991); 16 passed balls; 18/48 CS (38%); Decent but not outstanding offensive numbers combined with defense that was poor at the beginning of the year but much improved by years end.  The biggest issue for Knapp entering this season was that he was considered a liability defensively.  He is making significant strides.  Grade: B-; 2017: Lehigh Valley to start, expect to see him in Philly at some point.

Logan Moore, 26, Phils 9th round pick in 2011; .220/.282/.256 in 177AB between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 5HR 20RBI; 8%BB/28%K; Hit .218/.256/.391 in 110AB with Lehigh Valley; .138 last 30 days; 53 games caught with 5 errors (.988); 0 passed balls; 18/45 CS (40%); Pretty much what we expected from Moore which is minimal offense and very good defense.  He will be entering his final year prior to minor league free agency next season and I wouldn’t expect him to be Rule 5 protected.  Grade: C+; 2017: Lehigh Valley backup

Reading

Jorge Alfaro,23, Acquired from Texas in 2015; .285/.325/.458 in 404AB; 15HR 67RBI; 3/5SB; 5%BB/25%K; .213 vs LHP; .302 vs RHP; .263 last 30 days; 95 games caught with 6 errors (.993); 7 passed balls; 33/75 CS (44%): After significant injuries issues in 2015, Alfaro kept himself both healthy and productive for large portions of the season.  I believe he has the potential to be a top 5 major league catcher between the combination of a very good bat and an absolute gun for an arm.  Grade: A-; 2017: Phils, sharing time with Rupp. Continue reading Post Season Report Card–Catchers

Post Season Report Card, Middle Infield

A look up the middle at Phils prospects.  A reminder that grades are based on my expectations for a players performance pre-season against how they actually performed. Look for the next report, on catchers, out Monday,

Lehigh Valley

Jesmuel Valentin, 22, Acquired from Dodgers in 2014. 269/.341/.395 in 446AB between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 9HR 52RBI; 4/8SB; 10%BB/16%K; For Lehigh Valley: .248/.325/.381; 4HR 14RBI in 105AB; 10%BB/20%K; 116 games at 2B with 14 errors (.975); 9 games at SS with 3 errors (.900); After missing almost all of 2015 suspended, Valentin had a very good year producing consistently in Reading and being rewarded with a late season callup to Lehigh Valley.  Having watched him several times, I do believe he profiles as a major leaguer, although probably not a starter.  He was solid at 2B, walked a good deal and produced runs with the bat.  Grade: B; 2017: Lehigh Valley and could see him in Philly late next year

JP Crawford, 21, Phils 1st round pick in 2013; .250/.349/.339 in 472AB; 7HR 43RBI; 12/19SB; 13%BB/15%K; For Lehigh Valley: .244/.328/.318; 4HR 30RBI; 7/11SB; 11%BB/16%K; .244 vs LHP; .244 vs RHP; .197 last 30 days; 123 games at SS with 19 errors (.966); Going into 2016, I expected Crawford to make his Phillies debut in September.  It appears that will not happen as the level of production did not equate with expectations this season.  Crawford clearly has the talent based on what he is able to put together 3,4,5 games at a time, however lacked the consistency this year that he will need to be the all star major leaguer that he is projected to be.  Crawford played very well in the field, continued to have excellent plate discipline but simply didnt produce with the bat after two extended slumps at the beginning of his time in Allentown and during the last month of the season.  Grade: C-; 2017: Lehigh Valley to start with hopefully a call up to Philly come June/July.

Darnell Sweeney, 25, Acquired from Dodgers in 2015; .233/.299/.345 in 400AB; 6HR 35RBI; 12/23SB; 9%BB/23%K; .242 vs LHP; .226 vs RHP, .211 last 30 days; 40 games at 3B with 7 errors (.924); 54 games at 2B with 5 errors (.980); 20 games in the OF without an error; It was pretty clear the Phils expected alot more out of Sweeney who was placed on the 40 last season, and removed from the 40 just last week.  A very disappointing year after going into Spring Training with a real possibility of making the big league club.  Grade: D; 2017: If he is back it will be in Lehigh Valley and not on the 40.

Reading

Scott Kingery, 22, Phils 2nd round pick in 2015; .281/.335/.388 in 531AB between Clearwater and Reading; 5HR 36RBI; 30SB; 7%BB/16%K; For Reading: .250/.273/.333 in 156AB; 2HR 18RBI; 4/6SB; 3%BB/22%K; .214 last 30 days; 125 games at 2B with 11 errors (.980); Kingery was excellent for Clearwater throughout the season and was called up to Reading in late July.  After some early success with the Fightins’, Kingery struggled with the stick over the last month.  Perhaps most problematic is the 3% walk rate for a guy that should be hitting at the top of the lineup.  Defense was excellent all year.  Grade: B; 2017: Reading with potential to move to Lehigh Valley come July. Continue reading Post Season Report Card, Middle Infield