2017-02-17T14:08:02.789-05:00allowfullscreen="" 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.[...]
2017-02-07T15:43:20.562-05:00Editor'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.
2017-02-06T22:04:56.510-05:00This 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.
2017-02-05T09:26:06.384-05:00Spring 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.[...]
2017-02-02T09:17:28.360-05:00Editor'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.
2017-02-02T09:15:27.871-05:00Editor'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.
2017-02-01T23:21:39.173-05:00Editor'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.
2017-01-23T16:30:01.670-05:00Editor'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.
2017-01-23T14:26:57.016-05:00Editor'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.
2017-01-23T09:11:48.802-05:00Editor'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. 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[...]
2016-12-23T10:38:00.997-05:00Editor'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.