2017-01-20T09:33:41.737-05:00Editor's Note: This is the 20th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Adam Morgan was the last player profiled.
2017-01-20T09:10:26.466-05:00Editor's Note: This is the 19th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Aaron Nola was the last player profiled.
2017-01-16T10:23:35.721-05:00Editor's Note: This is the 18th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Taylor Featherston was the last player profiled.Aaron Nola is supposed to be a linchpin in the Phillies' future success. The former 7th overall pick had a strong rookie campaign, logging a 6-2 mark with a 3.59 ERA, a 4.04 FIP, a stingy 2.2 walks per nine innings and a respectable 7.9 strikeouts per nine. He was just 23 when the season began.And he looked like a cornerstone.Through 12 starts, Nola had a 5-4 mark and a 2.65 ERA. He'd tossed at least 100 pitches in five starts. He'd struck out seven or more batters in seven starts. He'd walked two or fewer batters in all but one start. He'd given up five home runs in 84 frames. His fastball darted. His curveball bit. A possible ace was in the making.At that point in the season, the Phillies were a surprising 28-29.After that point, the Phillies would go 43-62 and Nola would get roughed up, to the tune of a 9.82 ERA and opponents hitting .367 with a .531 slugging mark. It would turn out the right-hander was pitching through some elbow issues and Nola would go on the disabled list on July 28 and not pitch again. He had a low-grade sprain of his UCL and a low-grade strain of his flexor pronator tendon.His future is in doubt. Now, I'm not as concerned as most. I don't think this definitely means Tommy John surgery is in his future. Then again, I'm no doctor. I understand the surgery is more likely than with someone who hasn't strained those tendons.One good note is the Phillies haven't shied away from promoting Nola in the lead up to the 2017 season. He's attending an autograph signing with Tommy Joseph on Wednesday at Citizens' Bank Park and will be at a couple of banquets in Reading and Allentown.2016 grade: CWill we see him in 2017: If all goes well, he'll make 28 or more starts.[...]
2017-01-16T09:52:47.028-05:00Editor's Note: This is the 17th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Luis Garcia was the last player profiled.
2017-01-15T18:58:19.770-05:00Editor's Note: This is the 16th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Roman Quinn was the last player profiled.
2017-01-13T17:00:32.480-05:00Editor's Note: This is the 15th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Frank Herrmann was the last player profiled. I have dreams built on Roman Quinn.I know I shouldn't, but I love guys like Juan Pierre, Michael Bourn, Kenny Lofton. Sure, they break down quicker than most power guys. Sure, they're not as effective if they don't get on base.But speedy, defense guys can be so exciting.The thing I like about Quinn is that the secondary tools are just as impressive.He's stolen 159 minor league bases and been caught just 46 times. He's got a .353 minor league on-base percentage, and it's trending up.He's got warts, though.First, he's got a dreadful history with injuries. It really makes you wonder how durable he'll be. And if a player is not on the field, he's not helping you at all.Second, he strikes out an awful lot. Quinn whiffed 19 times in 69 plate appearances.All in all, he has to get a good grade on the year. He made it to the Major Leagues. He played effectively in the Major Leagues. But he's not going to get an A because he dealt with more injuries.2016 grade: B-Will he be back in 2017: If he stays healthy, there is no doubt Quinn will get playing time in Philadelphia.[...]
2017-01-13T15:33:16.644-05:00Editor's Note: This is the 14th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Joely Rodriguez was the last player profiled.
2016-12-27T12:15:51.270-05:00Editor's Note: This is the 12th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. AJ Ellis was the last player profiled.
2016-12-24T11:05:00.227-05:00Editor's Note: This is the 11th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Zach Eflin was the last player profiled.
2016-12-23T10:59:21.750-05:00Editor's Note: This is the tenth in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Jake Thompson was the last player profiled.
First day of throwing in the books! Felt amazing getting out there pain free. Truly blessed with the people I have supporting and guiding me— Zach Eflin (@zeflin12) November 30, 2016
2016-12-23T10:38:00.997-05:00Editor's Note: This is the ninth in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Dailier Hinojosa was the last player profiled. I was very excited about Jake Thompson headed into the season. I thought he could be a guy who would pay off big time in the Cole Hamels trade. Maybe he wouldn't be an ace, but I figured he would be a No. 3 starter or reliable bullpen arm.Then I saw him scuffle in a Triple-A start against the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.As the season moved on, the 22-year-old right-hander tabbed as the 34th best prospect in baseball by Baseball Prospectus began to flourish. He finished his AAA season with an 11-5 mark and a 2.50 ERA. He struck out just 6 batters per nine innings, but didn't give up many home runs and was pretty stingy with the free passes, too.Then he made his first Big League start on Aug. 6.He got rocked, giving up six earned runs in under five innings pitched. His next three starts weren't better. He finished his Aug. 23 assignment with a 9.78 ERA, having allowed 22 hits, 13 walks and five home runs in 19.1 innings pitched.Things got markedly better from then on.After that start, Thompson started six games, pitched 34.1 innings, struck out 19, had a 3.41 ERA.Those are numbers you can hang your hat on as a rookie.Thompson is still an exciting prospect. One who will likely start the season in the minor leagues. But, whether it's an injury or a trade that frees up a roster space, Thompson will likely take the the hill for the Phillies at some point this season.He'll be a 23-year-old with a strong arm and a nice pedigree. It's good to have him around and he's clearly a reason to think this team will soon contend for a playoff spot again.2016 grade: C+Will we see him again in 2017: Unless something tragic or bizarrely wonderful happens, we will see him on the mound in the Phillies pinstripes in 2017.[...]
2016-12-20T06:08:57.230-05:00On the twelfth day of Christmas, the Phillies gave to me... 12 Months of rebuilding (good luck Klentak)11 Triples from Cesar Hernandez10 Earned runs allowed in 10.2 IP from Phil Klein (have fun in Asia)9 RBI from Darin Ruf (have fun in LA)8 Ball Girls a milking7 Intentional Walks issued to Maikel Franco6 Nightmarish appearances from Patrick Schuster (45.00 ERA)5 Year contract to Odubel Herrera4 Starts from $8M mistake Charlie Morton3 Doubles in 213 at bats from Tyler Goeddel (weak)2 Saves from future closer Hector Neris1 More year of Jeremy Hellickson (accepted qualifying offer) and ZERO more seasons from Chooch & Howard (thanks for the memories)Previous Installments:*2006 - Volume I*2007 - Volume II*2008 - Volume III*2009 - Volume IV*2010 - Volume V*2011 - Volume VI*2012 - Volume VII*2013 - Volume VIII*2014 - Volume IX*2015 - Volume X[...]
2016-12-23T10:39:30.727-05:00Editor's Note: This is the eighth in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Daniel Stumpf was the last player profiled.
2016-12-23T10:39:44.549-05:00Editor's Note: This is the seventh in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. James Russell was the last player profiled.
2016-12-15T07:55:17.381-05:00The Phillies needed a utility infielder, so they brought back a familiar face in the form of Andres Blanco. "Whitey", as he's known to the team, has been a positive fixture in the clubhouse over the past 3 years and churned out some decent stats too: 221 G, .274/.795, 62 R, 42 DBL, 12 HR, 49 RBI, 1.7 WAR while playing 2B, SS, 3B, and 1B. He signed a 1 YR/$3M deal, so he's not going to be blocking any prospects.
2016-12-10T09:01:17.268-05:00Matt Klentak is having a nice offseason so far by my measurements. The Howie Kendrick move was one I would have done. Non-tendering Cody Asche, I would have done. Present Jeremy Hellickson with qualifying offer, I would have done and then been happy that he accepted. The trade for Pat Neshek is exactly what I would have done. Signing a proven veteran relief pitcher to a 1 year deal (Joaquin Benoit) is precisely the move I would have made. Loading up with veterans on minor league deals is what I would still be doing (Daniel Nava and Sean Burnett). Seriously, this is the exact blueprint I would be following if I were anointed Phillies GM.The New Guys:Joaquin Benoit - 39 year old right handed reliever of 15 MLB seasons. He has been absolutely great since 2010 (Year/ERA: 2010 - 1.34, 2011 - 2.95, 2012 - 3.68, 2013 - 2.01, 2014 - 1.49, 2015 - 2.34, and 2016 - 2.81). He's the perfect fit for a relatively young Phillies bullpen. Having him, Hector Neris, Edubray Ramos, and Pat Neshek is a helluva lot better than what the Phils had last season. Michael Mariot was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.Sean Burnett - 34 year old lefty reliever of 9 MLB seasons. Hasn't been consistently healthy since 2012, but has a decent tract record when he feels right. His career 3.52 ERA and 1.33 WHIP would be a welcome addition to the Phillies bullpen if he could replicate those numbers. The former 1st round pick is better suited facing same-handed batters, as he's held lefties to a .225/.626 line over the course of his career. He's been signed to a minor league contract with a March 26th opt out date if he's not added to the 40-man roster by that time.Daniel Nava - 33 year old switch-hitting outfielder of 6 MLB seasons. He hasn't been worth a damn since 2014, but there's always a chance for a rebound, and the risk is merely a minor league contract. A career .262/.727 batter over 509 games. Worth noting - he also has experience at 1st base. Side note- I don't foresee Nava making the team. It makes more sense to give playing time to Altherr and Quinn, who are young with upside. However, having Nava stashed away in Triple-A helping mentor up-and-comers Nick Williams and Dylan Cozens would be nice.Potential 25-Man Roster:Rotation:SP1 - Jeremy HellicksonSP2 - Jerad EickhoffSP3 - Aaron NolaSP4 - Vince VelasquezSP5 - Alec Asher, Zach Eflin, Adam Morgan, or Jake ThompsonBullpen:CL - Hector NerisRP - Joaquin BenoitRP - Pat NeshekRP - Edubray RamosRP - Jeanmar GomezRP - Joely RodriguezRP - Luis Garcia, Severino Gonzalez, David Rollins, or Sean BurnettLineup:1. Cesar Hernandez/2B2. Howie Kendrick/LF3. Odubel Herrera/CF4. Maikel Franco/3B5. Tommy Joseph/1B6. Cameron Rupp/C7. Freddy Galvis/SS8. Roman Quinn/Aaaron Altherr/RFBench:C - Andrew Knapp or Jorge AlfaroUTL - Jesmuel Valentin*Two more wide open bench spotsI think Klentak could add a utility infielder and veteran outfielder on MLB deals and risk losing Phil Klein, Luis Garcia, or Severino Gonzalez on waivers in order to create room on the 40-man roster. I would also consider trading Gomez if anyone would be willing to take him. Possible targets - Andres Blanco/UTL, Chris Coghlan/UTL/OF, Franklin Gutierrez/OF, Kelly Johnson/UTL/OF, Michael Bourn/OF, Desmond Jennings/OF, Nolan Reimold/OF, Stephen Drew/UTL, Adam Rosales/UTL, and Gregorio Petit/UTL. Highlighted = Best Options.[...]
2016-12-23T10:40:05.967-05:00Editor's Note: This is the sixth in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Jorge Alfaro was the last player profiled.
2016-12-02T15:33:41.905-05:00Hey, it's deadline day for players eligible for salary arbitration. allowfullscreen="" class="giphy-embed" frameborder="0" height="411" src="//giphy.com/embed/pwFeRdqBuSJ7a" width="480">via GIPHYThat means the Phillies have to decide what to do with Freddy Galvis, Cesar Hernandez, Jeanmar Gomez and Cody Asche.So what are the chances each player gets a contract?Freddy GalvisLook, Freddy drives me nuts. I know, I know. He plays great defense and he hit 20 homers. But, by god, remember how fans would go nuts when Jimmy Rollins would pop-up with a runner on second or swing at the first pitch to lead off the ninth? Freddy takes that to the next level.He struck out 21.8 percent of his plate appearances last year, walked in four percent, and put a ball in play at a percentage of 69.Compare that with Rollins, who struck out 12.3 percent of the time in his career, only once topping 16.4, walked 7.9 percent of his plate appearances, and put balls in play 77 percent of the time.All right, he's not J-Roll. Few players are. But he does run well, has a great glove (bears repeating) and, as we said, hits home runs.Unless there's something we don't know about, Galvis is getting a contract. We'll put it down for 99 percent.Cesar HernandezHernandez drives other people far more insane than he does me. I'll take him on my roster. He can play a bit of defense, has a ton of speed, walks and hits for average.He had a .371 on-base percentage last year. Not many Phillies got on base at a decent clip last year. He was one. Odubel Herrera was the other.Is he a long-term asset? I'm still not sure the Phillies view him that way.But, they're not going to send him packing without getting something in return. They clearly could get something in return for a middle infielder who put up a 3.3 WAR in his 26-year-old season.We'll put him down at 99 percent.Jeanmar GomezThe right-hander was a solid closer for much of the season. Then the wheels noticeably fell off.Let's look at a few stats by month:April13 games, three walks, 11 strikeouts, .254 OBP allowed, .339 slugging allowedMay12 games, three walks, seven strikeouts, .298 OBP, 357 sluggingJune10 games, three walks, six strikeouts, .333 OBP, .450 sluggingJuly11 games, three walks, six strikeouts, .279 OBP, .250 sluggingAugust12 games, five walks, seven strikeouts, .365 OBP, 383 sluggingSeptember12 games, five walks, nine strikeouts, .529 OBP, 733 SluggingTake away September and August and Gomez had a fantastic year. But you can't take those months away and those months make you question whether he can be a back end of the bullpen piece.He finished the year with 37 saves and 68 innings pitched, so he's due for a raise from his $1.4 million.His FIP, however, suggests he might have been a better pitcher than his final 4.85 ERA showed.With the Phillies having a lot of spending room, it's hard to imagine them pinching pennies on Gomez' contract.We'll put him down at 70 percent.Cody AscheI want to like Cody Asche. God, do I want to like him. The idea is there. A left-handed batter who hits .280-310 with a .350 on-base percentage and a .420 slugging percentage. It would be worthwhile to have a guy like that on the roster. Especially if he can play left field, first base and third base.Truth be told, I'd rather have Asche be that guy than Emmanuel Burriss. Asche at least makes contact and can drive the ball a bit.If that's what they envision Asche being (especially since they've added Howie Kendrick to the mix), He might be worth keeping around. Everything I've read says he's good in the clubhouse. And he's not going to ge[...]
2016-12-23T10:40:50.682-05:00Editor's Note: This is the fifth in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Patrick Schuster was the last player profiled. If you'd told Phillies fans gathered around the fields at the Carpenter Process in Spring Training that Jorge Alfaro would be with Philadelphia by the end of the season, they probably wouldn't have been surprised. Alfaro looked impressive. Carlos Ruiz was old, and a trade candidate. Alfaro, who was the No. 31 prospect in all of baseball at one point - he was No. 70 at the start of this season, was a safe bet to arrive in Philly. And arrive he did.But only to play in six games. So what did we see in such a small sample size? Well, he struck out in half (eight) of his at-bats. He went 2-for-16 with a walk and no extra base hits. Defensively, he caught the only base runner who attempted to swipe a bag on him. He didn't have any errors, allowed one passed ball and five wild pitches across five starts.In other words, the kid was still raw, and not in a rhythm of playing every day.His minor league numbers were impressive. The 23-year-old hit .285/.325/.458. That's a notch above his .266/.326/.437 average. He launched 15 homers, 21 doubles and two triples in just 97 games. But it was at Reading and we should all look at Reading's numbers as being slightly inflated, until proven otherwise. Far more power prospects are going to leave Reading and play like Darin Ruf in the Big Leagues than they will Ryan Howard.That Alfaro earned a promotion says a lot about his season. It also says a bit about Andrew Knapp's season. He was, after all, in Triple-A and didn't earn a promotion.You can somewhat fairly judge Alfaro's season based on where he is right now on many prospect lists.MLB.com has him as the Phillies fourth best prospect, behind J.P. Crawford, first overall draft pick Mickey Moniak and Nick Williams. It has him as the 58th best prospect in baseball. Before the season, John Sickels, who had Alfaro as a B- grade prospect, saying "Extremely frustrating to watch. All-Star caliber physical tools still stand out but his feel for the game remains very unimpressive to me; he is prone to sloppy play with both bat and glove with little signs of improvement. Could still be excellent but also a considerable risk of skill washout." At the end of the year, Sickels had Alfaro ranked 72 in all of baseball, with a B rating. Lastly, at the beginning of the season, Baseball Prospectus had Alfaro ranked 8th among Phillies prospects, pointing out similar issues as Sickels had. On Nov. 10, the same BP writer had Alfaro as the second best prospect in the organization.In other words, the people who read the tea leaves seem to have seen a lot of improvement.Season grade: B+Will we see him in 2017: One has to assume he'll be on the roster, even if the Phillies send him to Triple-A for some seasoning. Which, to me, begs the question, "What happens with Andrew Knapp?"[...]
2016-12-23T10:40:59.004-05:00Editor's Note: This is the fourth in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Alec Ascher was the last player profiled.
2016-12-02T09:20:22.345-05:00Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Charlie Morton was the last player profiled. I've never known what to think of Alec Ascher.When he came over in the Cole Hamels deal, I assumed he was organizational depth the Phillies were willing to take a flyer on. While he doesn't walk many batters and has decent strikeout numbers, he gave up his fair share of homers in the low minors. Then he showed up at Lehigh Valley and pitched to a 2.08 ERA in four starts and the Phillies promoted him.And he got rocked. In his first four Big League starts, he got kncocked around to the tune of a 9.78 ERA, allowing six home runs and 30 hits in 19.3 frames.That's some rough stuff. Then he took the hill against the Marlins on Sept. 24 and threw seven innings of three-hit ball.He finished the season getting rocked again and walking away with a 9.31 ERA.It seemed safe to assume we would rather have David Buchanan eat some innings than Alec Asher.Then, at the middle of the year, he got hit with an 80 game suspension for baseball's drug policy while pitching in the minors.For all intents and purposes, I was done with him.But the 25 year old did pitch this year, so let's look at what he did.By the time he finally got the call, with fans having been concentrating on Vincent Velasquez, Aaron Nola, Ben Lively, Jake Thompson and Zach Eflin, we were all like, "Ascher? Ascher? Oh, Ascher!" allowfullscreen="" class="giphy-embed" frameborder="0" height="204" src="//giphy.com/embed/10taSlW9ci9P6E" width="480">via GIPHY--- On Sept. 8, he tossed six innings of shutout ball, scattering a hit and a walk while not tallying a strikeout against a good Nationals team. The lineup included Trea Turner, Jayson Werth, Daniel Murphy, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman and Dany Espinosa.This wasn't something to sniff at.--- On Sept. 13, he allowed 2 runs on four hits and three walks in six-plus innings.--- On Sept. 18, he allowed 2 runs in a shortened start of just 4.1 innings. It's worth noting that at that point he had given up a 2.16 ERA, and had two Ks for every walk.--- On Sept. 24, he collected his second career win, giving up four unearned runs while walking none and striking out 1.--- On Sept. 30, he pitched six innings, allowing three runs on five hits, no walks and four strikeouts. He gave up his only home run on the year.All in all, that's a pretty impressive five start run, particularly by someone who would be a fifth starter. He made it into the sixth in three of his five starts. He allowed just one home run. He didn't walk a batter in his final 15.1 innings.But that's a very small sample size of a rested pitcher whom few teams had a book on.I'm still not sure Ascher is a big part of this organization's future. But, one excellent month means he'll certainly get another shot.Season Grade: C+Will we see him back in 2017: So long as he doesn't get nabbed for drugs, or require a second Tommy John surgery, he should make more than a few appearances in Philadelphia.[...]
2016-12-23T10:41:11.661-05:00Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Phil Klein was the last player profiled. Charlie Morton arrived in Philadelphia to help eat innings for a young rotation. To get the then 33-year-old from the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Phillies had to give up David Whitehead, a 34th-round pick out of Elon University.It's probably a good thing the Phillies didn't give up much more.Morton, who had never pitched more than 171.2 innings, had only topped 150 twice, and has had a string of injuries, started out looking pretty serviceable. After getting smoked by the Cincinnati Reds in his first start, the right-hander logged six or more frames in his next two starts, giving up just 1 run. But he didn't make it out of the first inning on April 23 and never pitched again.Before the season started, a good friend and I disagreed over who would be the better pitcher, Morton, Aaron Nola or Jeremy Hellickson. I didn't expect Morton to be as good as the latter two, but I expected him to be around for awhile. Morton's injury, and other factors, allowed us to get an 11-game look at Zach Eflin, who impressed until his own injury sidelined him.Morton ended up being a safe bet that failed for GM Matt Klentak. Those happen. Considering David Whitehead put up an 8.41 ERA in the minors last season, with 7.5 walks per nine innings, it was a failed move that didn't cost the Phillies anything. Season Grade: FWill we see him back in 2017: No. He signed with the Astros [...]
2016-11-21T09:20:08.596-05:00Did Matt Klentak overplay his hand with Jeremy Hellickson?
2016-11-23T10:20:13.237-05:00Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Cedric Hunter was the first player profiled.