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Phillies Baseball



Updated: 2017-02-24T13:46:56.123-05:00

 



The Face of the Franchise: The 2017 Player Preview of Odubel Herrera

2017-02-17T14:08:02.789-05:00

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/mg1-rY9eTjA" width="485"> At one point this offseason it looked like Odubel Herrera was trade bait. Instead, the Phillies signed him to a new 5-year contract, thereby making him the face of the franchise.This is the first in a series previewing the 2017 Phillies. We start with Odubel Herrera because, as we said, he's the face of the franchise. He's an All-Star and has an 8 WAR since being plucked from the Rangers in the 2015 Rule 5 draft. Let's look at our expectations for 2017.Herrera is quickly becoming one of the best Rule 5 picks in history. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Mc37Q9e1GYw" width="485">What we knowIn our 2016 preview, we said we hoped he would end up with a WAR of 3-4. He was coming off a strong season and we thought a goal was to see his strikeout rate down to 22 percent and his walk rate up to 7 percent. We also said we'd like to see him have a better stolen base percentage while swiping at least 20 bags.Guess what! Our bat-flipping hero went from 16 to 25 stolen bases and was caught just 7 times, one fewer than in 2015. His strikeout rate dropped to 20.4 percent and his walk rate went from 5.2 to 9.6, an astounding increase.He finished the season with a .286/.361/.420 slash line and a 111 OPS+. He did this while holding down a .349 bapip. Here's what we know. After two big league seasons, Herrera has proven his batting average and on-base percentage will be above league average, he will put up solid defensive numbers. I'm not entirely sold he will hit 15 homers again. He had just one more extra-base hit than he did in 2015. It's entirely possible he just had a few balls carry more than he did last year. The trade off is I don't think he'll ever hit just 21 doubles again.What we'd like to see in 2017Coming off an All-Star season and signing a 5-year contract means expectations are raised for El Torito. Flair and Flash is fun. But he's got to keep up the production. Here's what we'd like to see in 2017Extra-base hits: Herrera hit 21 and 42 doubles the last two seasons. I don't think it's a stretch to hope he would hit 45-50 extra-base hits this season. That means he'll have two do two things. The first is that he can't have any more prolonged slumps. No full months in which he hits .227. The second is that he has to continue to grow his knowledge of the strike zone, Cut down on the swings in which he goes outside the zone. A mix of 38 doubles, 12 homers and six triples would be worthwhile.Base running: Do we know where Herrera will hit this year? He spent 76 games in the leadoff spot last year, 38 in the two hole and 23 batting third. Of course he'll bat In the top 3. I could see him batting leadoff or third. Leadoff means he should have a chance to steal 30-35 bases. Batting third probably means he stays in the 25-30 range. Either way, he should have a goal of an 80 percent stolen base mark. Anything below 75 is a failure. Herrera took an extra base 41 percent of the time last season. That's a number that could improve a bit, especially with the offensive improvements around him.Strikeouts: Strikeouts aren't as bothersome to most people. Herrera, however, has some tools - particularly his speed, but also his gap power - that benefit the team if he makes more contact. It's doubtful he would lose a lot of power if he cut his strikeout percentage below 20.GoalsHealth: It's a given; but we still need to say it. The Phillies need Herrera to play in a minimum of 140 games. They have to hope for 155 or more.On-base percentage: Herrera went from .344 to .361. He can't fall below .350. If he pulls off a .350 OBP he'll be solid. If he can get it to .370, the Phillies will be very happy. If he stays above .380, the team will be ecstatic.Runs: With his on-base capabilities, speed and an - at least expected to be - improved offense around him, Odubel should score 100 runs this season. If he pulls that off, there's a good chance the Phillies will beat expectations.[...]



2016 player review: Jeremy Hellickson

2017-02-07T15:43:20.562-05:00

Editor's Note: This is the 27th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Elvis Aurajo was the last player profiled.

Let's be honest, Jeremy Hellickson was fantastic in 2016. The Phillies gave up a rookie league pitcher for Hellickson in a low-risk move. At worst, the former rookie of the year would eat some innings. Maybe they'd spin him off in a trade to a team that needed a fifth starter.

Who expected Hellickson to...

Pitch 189 innings of a 3.98 FIP, 1.153 WHIP and a 3.0 WAR?
Finish with per nine averages of 8.2 hits, 1.1 home runs, 2.1 walks and 7.3 strikeouts?


Yeah, it would have been nice if the Phillies traded him for a prospect at the deadline, but assuming he'd walk as a free agent after getting a qualifying offer was the right decision. He was going to be, at worst, the third best starter on a weak free agent market.

Well, we all know he accepted the qualifying offer, so the Phillies have him back in 2017.

2016 grade: B+
Will we see him again in 2017: yes





2016 Player review: Elvis Araujo

2017-02-06T22:04:56.510-05:00

This is the 26th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. David Lough was the last player profiled.

I was sure Elvis Araujo would be a huge part of the bullpen and the Phillies future. He looked so good in 2015, pitching to a 3.38 ERA in 40 games as a 23-year-old.
To be clear, Elvis gave up too many walks - 4.9 per 9 innings - he allowed just one home run in 34 and 2/3 innings and struck out 8.8 per nine.
This year, the walks and strikeouts increased. He also gave up more home runs - four in 27 and 1/3 innings - and hits.
On Nov. 18, the Phillies lost him to the Marlins in a waiver claim. He was granted free agency on Jan. 5.





2017 Free Agent Squard

2017-02-05T09:26:06.384-05:00

Spring Training is about 2 weeks away, yet many seemingly useful veterans remain in the limbo of free agency. Keeping with my annual tradition, I've constructed a team consisting solely of free agents. The rotation is a bit thin, overall defense would be sub-par, and there's not much speed, but I think collectively they'd still have a chance to outplay a handful of teams out there (I'm looking at you Padres, Reds, Twins, A's, Brewers, and even our beloved Phillies).Catcher:Matt Wieters - .243/.711, 48 R, 17 DBL, 17 HR, 66 RBI, 1.7 WARDioneer Navarro - .207/.587, 26 R, 13 DBL, 6 HR, 35 RBI, -0.8 WARFirst Base:Mike Napoli - .239/.800, 92 R, 22 DBL, 34 HR, 101 RBI, 5 SB, 1.0 WARSecond Base:Chase Utley - .252/.716, 79 R, 26 DBL, 14 HR, 52 RBI, 2.0 WARShortstop:Daniel Descalso - .264/.773, 38 R, 12 DBL, 8 HR, 38 RBI, 0.6 WARThird Base:Aaron Hill - .262/.714, 48 R, 14 DBL, 10 HR, 38 RBI, 1.2 WAROutfield:Angel Pagan/LF - .277/.750, 71 R, 24 DBL, 5 TRPL, 12 HR, 55 RBI, 15 SB, 1.0 WARMichael Bourn/CF - .264/.684, 48 R, 13 DBL, 6 TRPL, 5 HR, 38 RBI, 15 SB, 0.3 WARFranklin Gutierrez/RF - .246/.780, 33 R, 9 DBL, 14 HR, 39 RBI, 0.3 WARBenchPedro Alvarez/1B/3B - .249/.826, 43 R, 20 DBL, 22 HR, 49 RBI, 0.7 WARChris Carter/1B/OF - .222/.821, 84 R, 27 DBL, 41 HR, 94 RBI, 0.9 WARErick Aybar/UTL - .243/.623, 34 R, 19 DBL, 34 RBI, -0.2 WARKelly Johnson/UTL - .247/.698, 25 R, 14 DBL, 10 HR, 34 RBI, 0.5 WARLineup:1. Michael Bourn/CF2. Angel Pagan/LF3. Mike Napoli/1B4. Chris Carter/DH5. Matt Wieters/C6. Daniel Descalso/SS7. Franklin Gutierrez/RF8. Chase Utley/2B9. Aaron Hill/3BRotation:Jason Hammel - 30 GS, 15-10, 166.2 IP, 144 K, 3.83/1.21, 1.1 WARDoug Fister - 32 GS, 12-13, 180.1 IP, 115 K, 4.64/1.43, 0.0 WARColby Lewis - 19 GS, 6-5, 116.1 IP, 73 K, 3.71/1.13, 2.4 WARJered Weaver - 31 GS, 12-12, 178 IP, 103 K, 5.06/1.46, -0.7 WARJorge De La Rosa - 27 G, 24 GS, 8-9, 134 IP, 108 K, 5.51/1.64, 0.0 WARBullpen:Travis Wood - 77 G, 4-0, 61 IP, 47 K, 2.95/1.13, 0.5 WARJoe Blanton - 75 G, 7-2, 80 IP, 80 K, 2.48/1.01, 1.7 WARLuke Hochevar - 40 G, 2-3, 37.1 IP, 40 K, 3.86/1.07, 0.3 WARDavid Hernandez - 70 G, 3-4, 72.2 IP, 80 K, 3.84/1.50, 0.9 WARPeter Moylan - 50 G, 2-0, 44.2 IP, 34 K, 3.43/1.30, 0.6 WARJavier Lopez - 68 G, 1-3, 26.2 IP, 15 K, 4.05/1.46, 0.2 WARTommy Hunter - 33 G, 2-2, 34 IP, 23 K, 3.18/1.27, 0.6 WARLeftovers:Jake Peavy/SP, Mat Latos/SP, Jon Niese/SP, Edwin Jackson/SP, Nolan Reimold/OF, Coco Crisp/OF, Adam Lind/1B, Seth Maness/RP, Yusmeiro Petit/RP, Chien-Ming Wang/RP, Gordon Beckham/UTL, Billy Butler/1B, Jeff Francoeur/OF, Cole Gillespie/OF, Chris Johnson/UTL, Ryan Howard/1B, Drew Stubbs/OF, David Lough/OF, Alexei Ramirez/SS.[...]



2016 Player Review: David Lough

2017-02-02T09:17:28.360-05:00

Editor's Note: This is the 25th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Severino Gonzalez was the last player profiled.

David Lough has some interesting tools. He plays great defense. He doesn't strike out much. He can run a bit, too.
He's not a bad fifth outfielder to have around. In just 96 games during the 2013 season, he pulled off a 2.7 WAR. That season, he had a .286/.311/.413 slash line, stole five bases, hit five home runs and slashed 17 doubles. He put up similar numbers in 2014, his first year with the Orioles.
Since then, however, he's had trouble converting his contact to hits.
Early on, it seemed as if Lough had figured things out. He hit .311/.364/.379.
Afterward, however, he hit .184/.326/.263.
The Phillies released Lough in August.

2016 grade: C-
Will we see him again in 2017: Not likely.





2016 Player Review: Severino Gonzalez

2017-02-02T09:15:27.871-05:00

Editor's Note: This is the 24th in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Brett Oberholtzer was the last player profiled.

Severino Gonzalez has bounced back and forth between Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley for the last two years. In the minors, Gonzalez has put up solid numbers, limiting walks (1.5 per nine) and home runs (.7 per nine). He's also compiled some decent strikeout numbers (7.3 strikeouts per nine).
During his time in red pinstripes, however, he's been very ineffective, giving up a 6.68 ERA, a 1.484 WHIP and giving up nine home runs and 84 hits in 66 innings.

Despite his youth and decent stuff, the Phillies shipped him to the Marlins for a player to be named later.

2016 grade: F
Will we see him again in 2017: If he makes the Marlins roster, he'll pitch against the Phillies.




2016 Review: Brett Oberholtzer

2017-02-01T23:21:39.173-05:00

Editor's Note: This is the 23rd in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Michael Mariot was the last player profiled.

The narrative was there. Brett Oberholtzer, a kid from Delaware, would come home and pitch well as part of a haul that would reinvigorate the franchise.

The left-hander acquired in the Cole Hamels Ken Giles trade had promise, arriving with a career 1.332 WHIP and a 3.72 FIP. He had solid control (2.1 walks per 9) and didn't allow home runs in Houston's bandbox.

Hitters rocked him for an 8+ ERA by the end of April. Despite a promising June, posting a 3.31 ERA that month, it wasn't enough as he was placed on waivers in August.

2016 grade: D
Will we see him again in 2017: Only if he pitches against the Phillies.



2016 Player Review: Michael Mariot

2017-01-23T16:30:01.670-05:00

Editor's Note: This is the 22nd in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Vincent Velasquez was the last player profiled.

This might sound nuts, but if you asked me how many games Michael Mariot pitched for the Phillies, I'd have guessed 40 to 50.
Mariot only pitched in 25 games and that shocked me.
It's probably because he gave up so many home runs - 5 - in such a short amount of time that it couldn't be possible he only pitched 21.2 innings.
Mariot is an interesting guy to look at. There's some promise there. He pitched to a 2.23 ERA in Lehigh Valley. He struck out 9.6 batters per 9 innings in Philly. He also gave up just 7.5 hits per nine in the Big Leagues.
But the control killed him. He gave up 5.8 walks per nine and 2.1 home runs. Those last two numbers will derail the good from the previous numbers.

That's why the Phillies designated the 28-year-old for assignment. But the Phillies know he's still worth a shot, so they invited him to Spring Training.

2016 grade: D
Will we see him in 2017: Probably



2016 Player Review: Vincent Velasquez

2017-01-23T14:26:57.016-05:00

Editor's Note: This is the 21st in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Colton Murray was the last player profiled.

The early returns on the Ken Giles trade have been mostly fantastic. Giles, who was fantastic in Philadelphia, struggled a bit in Houston. He posted a  2-5 record with a 4.11 ERA and just 15 saves in 65 innings. That said, his peripherals looked good. He posted 14 Ks per nine. His FIP was 2.86. He'll be fine. Houston will enjoy having him.

On the Phillies' side, Brett Oberholtzer pitched his way off the team. I was somewhat surprised by that. While I didn't expect him to be an All-Star, I expected more than a 4.83 ERA. Harold Arauz looked good for Lakewood. The 21-year-old appeared in 19 starts, pitching to a 3.55 ERA, 1.040 WHIP and allowing just four home runs and 24 walks in 99 innings. Thomas Eshelman got hit hard in Reading after some success at Clearwater. He is still just 22. Mark Appel suffered an injury in Triple-A. Appel (10) and  Eshelman (18) enter the season ranked among the Phillies' top prospects, according to MLB.com.

But the guy who shined the most was Vincent Velasquez. The 24-year-old tossed 131 often electric frames, pitching to a 4.12 ERA, a 3.81 FIP, a 1.328 WHIP. He allowed 21 home runs and 45 walks, but he struck out 152 batters. 

Velasquez exploded on the scene with a 16-K, three-hitter against the San Diego Padres. Though he had to spend some time on the disabled list in June, he looked grat through July 19, holding down a 3.19 ERA and an 8-2 mark. At that point, he had pitched 85 innings. The wall was coming. In 2015, he had pitched 88 innings. In 2014, he had pitched even fewer frames than that.

From July 19 on, Velasquez had a 5.96 ERA, giving up 11 homers and 30 walks in 45.1 innings.

Velasquez was the subject of trade speculation at the deadline and this offseason, but it's hard to imagine the team trading a guy with his capabilities when they won 71 games last year and added some intriguing pieces this offseason.

2016 grade: B+
Will we see him in 2017: Barring anything catastrophic, he'll be in the rotation.



2016 Player Review: Colton Murray

2017-01-23T09:11:48.802-05:00

Editor'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.

The Phillies drafted Colton Murray in the 13th round of the 2011 Amatuer Player Draft. He is the fifth player from that class to make it to the Major Leagues.
Considering that the class was so recent, that's not a bad haul so far. The other players were Ken Giles in the seventh round (Big win there), Cody Asche in the fourth round, Adam Morgan in the third round and Roman Quinn (Possibly a win there) in the second round.
Of course, the first rounder, Larry Greene Jr., bottomed out fairly quickly. 
Mitch Walding and  Harold Martinez remain in the system. Austin Wright was used in the Jeremy Hellickson trade.

Murray hasn't pitched particularly well in his appearances with the Phils over the past two years. He has a 6.18 ERA and a 5.05 FIP. He doesn't have terrible control, and he misses bats, so he's not a lost cause as a Major Leaguer. He's been invited to spring training. 

2016 grade: D
Will we see him again in 2017: Probably at some point




2016 Player Review: Adam Morgan

2017-01-20T09:10:26.466-05:00

Editor'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.

I have a soft spot for Adam Morgan. I like left-handed pitchers. I like players who work back from injuries. I like pitchers who don't walk anyone.

So I hoped Morgan would have a strong season in Philly. Instead, he got shipped out of town at the expense of Brett Applesauce Oberholzer. I didn't get that move when it happened.
Morgan eventually got called back to the big leagues for an April 29 start.
Morgan never got into a groove, ending up 2-11 with a repugnant 6.04 ERA and allowing 23 home runs in 113 innings.
He did, however, remain stingy with walks (2.3 per 9) and improved his strikeout numbers (7.5).
His velocity increased and it almost seemed like the 26-year-old couldn't harness it.
I don't think he's a bad pitcher. But I think he could be slightly better than his career has shown. It wouldn't shock me if, at some point, he put together a 12-10 season with a 4.20 ERA and a 3.76 FIP thanks to his low walks and about 7 strikeouts per 9.
Morgan is probably a little bit more than organizational filler at this point - because he has experience - but I don't see him fitting in with the team's long-term plans.

2016 grade: D
Will we see him again in 2017: Possibly.



2016 Player Review: Aaron Nola

2017-01-16T10:23:35.721-05:00

Editor'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.[...]



2016 Player Review: Taylor Featherston

2017-01-16T09:52:47.028-05:00

Editor'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.

Taylor Featherston has the look of a big league ballplayer. In 503 minor league games, he's hit .270/.337/.448 with 56 home runs and 55 stolen bases. He plays good defense at multiple positions.

But in two years at the Major League level, he hasn't hit like a big leaguer, posting a .156/.206/.233 line with nine walks against 57 strikeouts.

Last season was particularly rough, with him hitting .115/.129/.154 in 27 plate appearances. He looked overmatched.

Is Featherston a AAAA player? Someone who stands out at Triple-A -- how many middle-infielders at that level hit 13 homers, four triples and 23 doubles in 99 games -- and can't hack it in the big leagues.

Maybe.
 
Featherston will be 27 in 2017 and has been invited to big league camp.

2016 grade: D
Will he be back in 2017: If there are any injuries to the middle-infield, he's a lock to return.





2016 Player Review: Luis Garcia

2017-01-15T18:58:19.770-05:00

Editor'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.

Luis Garcia had a solid season in 2015. It looked like he could be a stalwart in 2016. It never came to fruition.
Garcia pitched in just 17 games, 55 fewer than the previous season. He tossed just 15.1 innings, giving up 21 hits and eight walks. 
The right-hander did look good at Lehigh Valley, pitching to a 2.14 ERA in 48 games and 54 innings pitched. 
With their young arms and offseason moves, it's hard to imagine the Phillies went into the offseason with high hopes for Garcia, who will be 30 in 2017, next season.

Season grade: F
Will we see him again in 2017: Probably. He has enough skill that he'll show u at some point, just don't expect him to be an important cog in a bullpen that already has Joaquin Benoit, Jeanmar Gomez, Hector Neris and Pat Neshak.





2016 Player Review: Roman Quinn

2017-01-13T17:00:32.480-05:00

Editor'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.[...]



2016 Player Review: Frank Herrmann

2017-01-13T15:33:16.644-05:00

Editor'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. 

Frank Herrmann pitched for the Phillies?
Frank Herrmann has two R's in his last name?
Frank Herrmann pitched 14 games for the Phillies?
Frank Herrmann hadn't pitched in the Major Leagues since 2012?
Frank Herrmann is 32 years old?

Frank Herrmann won a game?
Frank Herrmann has a 5-3 record in the Big Leagues with a 4.72 ERA during his career?
Frank Herrmann gave up seven home runs in 15 innings pitched?
That's a lot of home runs!





Phillies Player Movement Update

2017-01-05T15:47:22.854-05:00

New Additions:
1. Clay Buchholz/SP via trade with Red Sox. Buchholz is sometimes awesome, sometimes mediocre, and sometimes f'n awful. The 32 year old right-hander has had a roller coaster career, coming off a blah season with the BoSox (4.78 ERA/1.33 WHIP in 139.1 IP). I'm not a big fan of the deal, because it will block one of Jake Thompson, Zach Eflin, Alec Asher, or Ben Lively from taking the bump every 5th day with the Phillies. However, Buchholz could easily bounce back and become prime trade bait come July. For his 10 year career, he owns a 81-61 record with a 3.96 ERA/1.30 WHIP over 1167.2 IP.
2. Bryan Holaday/C via minor league contract. He'll challenge Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp for backup duties to incumbent starter behind the dish - Cameron Rupp.  Over his 5 MLB seasons, Holaday has played in 152 G and hit .245/.628, so he's nothing to get excited about.
3. Cesar Ramos/LHP via minor league contract. Another veteran lefty reliever added to the competition this spring, along with Sean Burnett and Joely Rodriguez. Ramos was a disaster last season with the Rangers (6.04 ERA/1.68 WHIP), but has done reasonably well over his 8 years MLB (4.02 ERA/1.40 WHIP in 267 G and 346.2 IP).

Barely Knew Ye:
1. Richie Shaffer was claimed off waivers by the Phillies then waived by the Phillies to be picked up by Reds.
2. David Rollins suffered the same fate at Shaffer, coming and going quickly, being swiped up by the Rangers.



2016 Player Review: Joely Rodriguez

2016-12-27T12:15:51.270-05:00

Editor'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. 

Only 17 pitchers have pitched more games for the Philadelphia Phillies than Antonio Bastardo. In many ways, it's a who's who of Phillies greats. Robin Roberts, Steve Carlton, Ryan Madson and Tug McGraw are the top four. Grover Cleveland Alexander is ninth. Cole Hamels is 15th. Carlton, Madson and McGraw all won rings. Carlton, Alexanader and Roberts have legitimate claims on being the best pitcher ever in Phillies pinstripes.
Much of the rest are relief pitchers who spent several years in Philly. Ron Reed is sixth. Rheal Cormier is seventh.  Ricky Bottalico is 11th.



It's easy to forget Bastardo spent that much time in Philadelphia. Six very uneven years.
On Dec. 10, 2014. the Phillies traded Bastardo to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a younger version of himself, Joely Rodriguez. It was one of the first big moves in the rebuild.
Rodriguez was a strong left-handed pitcher with a low 90s fastball and a nice little slider.
At that point, Rodriguez had shuttled between starting and relieving.
The Phillies continued their experiment in starting Rodriguez in 2015 in the minors. He gave up a 6.12 ERA over 129.1 minor league innings between Double and Triple-A.
They made him a full-time reliever this year and saw the fruits of that transition.
He pitched to a 2.57 ERA, allowing 16 walks against 41 strikeouts in 49 AA innings. He pitched 19.1 innings in Lehigh Valley, giving up 6 walks and striking out 18. Batters just buried pitches into the ground against him.
That earned him some time in Philly.
In the Big Leagues, Rodriguez impressed. The 24-year-old's fastball was in the mid-90s. His slider was crisp. The results were there, albeit in a small sample size.
His counting stats weren't fantastic, but promising: seven strikeouts against four walks (one intentional) and eight hits in 9.2 innings. He had a 23.3 swinging strike percentage.
Phillies fans have to be looking forward to more from Rodriguez in 2017.


Grade: B-
Will we see him again in 2017: It's very likely




2016 Player Review: A.J. Ellis

2016-12-24T11:05:00.227-05:00

Editor'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. 

After spending nine seasons in Los Angeles, and being in the middle of a playoff race, it made sense that A.J. Ellis didn't want to come to Philadelphia in the Carlos Ruiz trade.
But he came. He saw. He kicked ass. And now he's gone.

Else arrived after putting up a career worst line of .194/.285/.252. In 11 games in Philly - small sample size warning - he hit .313/.371/.500.

There was talk the Phillies might bring him back. That talk didn't make sense to me. With two prospects - Andrew Knapp and Jorge Alfaro - knocking at the door, one of them had to start the season in the big leagues or be traded this winter.  I didn't see how the Phillies would carry a catcher other than Rupp and Knapp on the roster out of spring training, unless Knapp scuffled mightily and Alfaro tore the cover off the ball in Clearwater.

Well, Ellis' resurgence earned him a 1-year 2.5 million deal, according to Buster Olney. 

2016 grade: A
Will he be back in 2017: Nope





2016 Player Review: Zach Eflin

2016-12-23T10:59:21.750-05:00

Editor'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. I've been moderately excited about Zach Eflin since the Phillies acquired him in the Jimmy Rollins trade on Dec. 19, 2014.  A former first rounder with the San Diego Padres, his stuff looked good when you watched him on video. His minor league numbers, while light on strikeouts, were impressive. He didn't give up homers or walks, he had two straight seasons of 120 innings pitched.Maybe he wouldn't be a star, but he could be someone the Phillies could plop into the No. 4 spot in the rotation.He looked good when I saw him in person, too.When he got called up to start a June game, I was excited. Then he gave up nine runs in less than three innings.Eflin had a rocky two months in Philly. He had three starts in which he gave up seven or more runs in five innings or fewer. Was he a poor man's Kyle Kendrick?Maybe not.He had two complete games, one a shutout. That stands out. They came against Atlanta, a bad team, and Pittsburgh, a playoff caliber team.Between those five great and terrible starts, he looked like an average starter.June 19: 2 runs on one walk and four hits over 5.2 innings.June 24: 1 run (no earned) on five hits and no walks over 6 innings.June 29: 4 runs (3 earned) on six hits and no walks over 6 innings.July 10: 2 runs on seven hits and two walks over six innings.July 17: 3 runs on five hits and two walks in six inningsAug. 2: 6 runs on six hits and three walks in five innings.That last start, and his final appearance (7 runs over three innings) were probably affected by the issues that lead to postseason surgery.Since his surgery, he seems to be progressing. 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, 2016The Phillies have stockpiled young arms and Eflin is one who could have a long future in Philadelphia, or be part of a trade for the third time in his career. He, Jake Thompson and Aaron Nola are no longer considered prospects. but the Phillies eighth (Franklin Kilome), ninth (Kevin Gowdy), 10th (Mark Appel) and 15th (Ricardo Pinto) best prospects according to MLB pipeline are all starting pitchers.No doubt some of these guys will miss, but what we've seen from Thompson and Eflin surely have us thinking a brighter future is on the way.2016 grade: BWill we see him again in 2017: Most likely[...]



2016 Player Review: Jake Thompson

2016-12-23T10:38:00.997-05:00

Editor'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.[...]



Phillies 12 Days of Christmas - Volume XI

2016-12-20T06:08:57.230-05:00

On 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 Player Review: Dalier Hinojosa

2016-12-23T10:39:30.727-05:00

Editor'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. 

Cuban defector Dalier Hinojosa sometimes seems like one of Matt Klentak's more shrewd pickups.
Since being claimed off waivers on July 15, 2015, the righthander has given up 6.3 hits, .5 home runs, 3.5 walks and struck out 7.7 batters per nine innings.
The problem is, he's only pitched in 28 games for the Phillies. The 30-year-old has spent much of his time in AAA or injured. He was hurt early in 2016 when a comebacker clipped his hand.
But he's got Big League talent. His fastball still sits in the low- to mid-90s and his slider comes in between 84-86.
Pete Mackanin considered him as a possible closer for the Phillies last year, before the injury.
Hinojosa was left unprotected before the Rule 5 draft, but he's still in the organization. I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that Hinojosa returns to the Big Leagues with the Phillies in 2017.

Grade: D
Will we see him in 2017: It's likely





2016 Player Review: Daniel Stumpf

2016-12-23T10:39:44.549-05:00

Editor'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. 

Daniel Stumpf was picked by the Phillies in the 2015 Rule 5 draft. Matt Klentak plucked the 25-year-old fireballer off the Kansas City Royals Organization.
He appeared in seven games, giving up 10.80 ERA, striking out just two batters in five innings and giving up 16.2 hits per nine.
His major league debut came on April 7.
On April 14, he was nailed for testing positive for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone. That meant an 80-day suspension.
The Phils designated him for assignment on July 22 and he was returned to the Royals later that month.
The Detroit Tigers are taking a chance on him, picking him off the Royals' roster in this year's rule 5 draft.

Grade: F
Will we see him in 2017: No.



Blanco Back, Shaffer Aboard, Klein to Asia, Rollins in Limbo & Other Moves

2016-12-15T07:55:17.381-05:00

The 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.
Richie Shaffer was claimed off waivers from the Mariners. The third basemen has experienced minimal success in the Majors, but has a nice minor league track record. In 51 MLB games he's posted a .213/.720 batting line and played 3B, 1B, and corner OF. The former 1st round pick is set to turn 26 in March and has hit .246/.769 in the minors showing some pop with 71 HR and the willingness to take a walk (.333 OBP despite low AVG).

To make room on the 40-man roster for the above acquisitions, lefties David Rollins and Phil Klein were designated for assignment. Klein is said to be seeking employment in Asia and the Phils hope Rollins goes unclaimed so they can sneak him back down to the minors like they did with Michael Mariot.

Other Moves:
The Phillies received Mario Sanchez as the player to be named later in the Jimmy Cordero trade. Not really worth writing about as he's basically organizational filler.

Other "fill" were signed to minor league contracts - utility infielders Pedro Florimon (great glove, horrible bat) and Hector Gomez (decent glove, questionable bat).