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Phillies Baseball



Updated: 2017-01-20T10:46:48.864-05:00

 



2016 Player Review: Colton Murray

2017-01-20T09:33:41.737-05:00

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 innings
Aug. 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.

The 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: B
Will 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).



Benoit, Burnett & Nava

2016-12-10T09:01:17.268-05:00

Matt 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 Player Review: James Russell

2016-12-23T10:40:05.967-05:00

Editor'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. 

James Russell pitched in seven games for the Phillies. He was about as effective as a jobber in a 1988 bout with Randy Macho Man Savage.
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In those seven games, he pitched 4.1 innings, giving up nine hits, five walks and two home runs.
He got hit hard.

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That leaves you with an 18.69 ERA, which would still be terrible if you cut it in a third; a 3.231 WHIP, which wouldn't be good if you cut it in half; and a 10.4 walks and 18.7 hits allowed per nine innings, which is just incredibly terrible. Try as I might, I couldn't find a glimmer of hope in the 30-year-old's stats. He inherited three runners, all of whom scored. He gave up a .429 batting average against, a .519 on-base percentage and a .762 slugging percentage. It was like watching a teenager pitch to Babe Ruth, except this guy once went three years and 217 games with a 120 ERA-plus and a 3.76 FIP.
Let's be honest, this was worse than Randy Savage and the Brooklyn Brawler. Did Randy ever sucker punch some livestock? Kick a puppy? *searches Giphy* Ah, here it is.
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Grade: F
Will we see him back in 2017: No.
For the record, I liked this signing when it happened.

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Decision day for the Phillies when it comes to four players

2016-12-02T15:33:41.905-05:00

Hey, 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 Player Review: Jorge Alfaro

2016-12-23T10:40:50.682-05:00

Editor'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 Player Review: Patrick Schuster

2016-12-23T10:40:59.004-05:00

Editor'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. 
Patrick Schuster has a great first name, a commendable beard and a solid minor league reputation.
Dude has ripped off a 3.24 ERA and 1.290 WHIP in 296 minor league games.
The 25-year-old made it to the big leagues this year and got rocked in five appearances in Oakland. A 10.80 ERA and a 2.250 WHIP.
The Phils claimed him off waivers. He pitched ahandful of games in Lehigh Valley, compiling a 1.50 ERA. But his work in Philly was brutal.
Schuster gave up a 45.00 ERA and a 5.000 WHIP in 2 innings over six games.
He walked 18 batters per nine innings.
That said, he's left-handed so it was no doubt he'd find  a job in 2017.
He signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Season Grade: F
Will we see him back in 2017: He's already signed with the Dodgers. No doubt, he'll pitch successfully against the Phillies at some point. That's OK, we wish him and his beard some luck.



2016 Player Review: Alec Asher

2016-12-02T09:20:22.345-05:00

Editor'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 Player Review: Charlie Morton

2016-12-23T10:41:11.661-05:00

Editor'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 [...]



Sure, the draft pick would have been nice, but having Hellickson around isn't too bad

2016-11-21T09:20:08.596-05:00

Did Matt Klentak overplay his hand with Jeremy Hellickson?

At first glance, I think so.

Sure, the Phillies could have gotten a midlevel prospect or two at the trade deadline, but they were willing to ask for a higher price with Hellickson hitting an open market that didn't have much, pitching-wise.

But the Phillies will likely benefit from having Hellickson on the roster going into 2017.

Hellickson has been healthy for all but 1 season of his career. He's had three years in his six full seasons in which he was at worst a No. 3 starter. From 2011-12, he went 23-21 with a 3.02 ERA, 1.202 WHIP, 7.6 hits per nine and 3.2 BB per nine over 60 starts. Last year, he went 12-10 with a 3.71 ERA, 8.2 hits per nine and 2.1 hits per nine.

But take a closer look at what he's done since July of 2014. It's a 42 game run that includes 251.1 innings pitched.

That's not a small sample size.

Since then, he's walked 63 batters and struck out 205 while allowing 33 home runs and 230 hits. That's 2.25 walks per nine, which is .75 walks fewer than his career up to that point. That's 7.3 K's per nine, a significant increase over his previous mark of 6.5. His 8.2 hits per nine are a slight decrease over what he previously allowed (8.4) He still gives up 1.1 homers per nine, which isn't spectacular, but not worrisome when you look at his other numbers.

In all, it seems Hellickson has turned a corner in his career.

If he keeps those numbers up in April, May and June of 2017, the Phillies could get a nice return on their investment of Sam McWilliams. The 20-year-old who was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks had an interesting season in A-ball? He pitched to a 3.98 ERA in 15 starts and walked just 18 in 74 innings, but allowed 10.4 hits and struck out just 5.2 batters.

No doubt the Phillies would have liked getting the supplemental pick that would have come their way had Hellickson signed elsewhere. But keeping things in perspective, they've so far gotten a starting pitcher who performed above expectations in 2016 and could be a valuable member of the team in 2017.



2016 Player Review: Phil Klein

2016-11-23T10:20:13.237-05:00

Editor'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.

Phil Klein has the look of a Big League pitcher. The 6-7, 27-year-old right-hander has a low 90s fastball. He was plucked off waivers from the Texas Rangers in June and pitched in four games after being brought up to the Major Leagues. He tossed 10.2 innings, getting touched for 15 hits, seven walks and an 8.44 ERA. He owns a career 5.50 ERA, 5.02 FIP and 1.545 WHIP.

But Klein might not be a guy the Phillies give up on. He's got a career 2.10 ERA and 1.136 WHIP in 161 minor league games. His peripherals are really impressive. He's allowed just 15 homers in 343 minor league innings while accumulating 400 whiffs. The problem is he allows a ton of walks, including 4.0 per 9 innings.

His first foray into The Show was also quite effective, tossing 19 frames in 17 games, allowing a 2.84 ERA and a 1.105 WHIP.  He did give up three home runs in that stretch.

It's hard to imagine the Phillies keeping Klein on the 40-man roster because of the glut of prospects that must be protected. However, if the Phils can find a way to keep him around, those previous numbers mean he could provide valuable bullpen innings down the road.

He's one of those guys. Someone you could easily see going to another organization and putting up impressive numbers. Remember when Ryan Vogelsong was let go? Dan Otero? There's a risk in letting him go or not protecting him.

Season grade: D.
Will we see him back in 2017? Possibly