Who Are You: David Hernandez

This is part of an ongoing series profiling new members of the 2016 Phillies roster. Previous installments:

Jeremy Hellickson
Peter Bourjos
Charlie Morton
Vincent Velasquez


David Hernandez – RHP
Born: 5/13/85, entering age 31 season
Height: 6’3″, Weight: 245 lb.
2015: 1-5, 4.28 ERA, 33.2 IP,  22.9 K%, 7.6 BB%, 96 ERA+
Career: 25-35, 4.15 ERA, 414.1 IP, 23.2 K%, 9.8 BB%, 100 ERA+
Contract Status: 1-year/$3.9M

History

Drafted by the Orioles in the 16th round of the 2005 draft, David Hernandez came up through Baltimore’s system as a starting pitcher. His minor league numbers were rather ordinary — 28-27, 552.1 IP, 3.75 ERA, 9.8 BB% — except for a notably impressive strikeout rate of 27.1 percent. A successful start to the 2009 season in Triple-A led to Hernandez making his major league debut and, ultimately, starting 19 games that season for Baltimore.

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Phillies Trade Jesse Biddle to the Pirates

Update: The Phillies got pitcher Yoervis Medina in return for Biddle. Medina is 27 and has four years of team control remaining, meaning he’ll be eligible for free agency after the 2019 season. The right-hander had a pair of solid years pitching out of the Mariners’ bullpen in 2013 and ’14, posting ERA’s of 2.91 and 2.68, respectively. However, Medina has struggled with command as his 12.4 career walk rate illustrates. He struggled immensely last season between the Mariners and Cubs, spending most of his season facing Triple-A competition. Medina will battle in spring training for a spot at the back of the Phillies’ bullpen.

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Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Phillies have traded pitcher Jesse Biddle to the Pittsburgh Pirates for an as yet unknown return. Biddle had been designated for assignment earlier this week, which gave the club 10 days to trade, release, or waive the lefty.

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Phillies Unveil “New” Horrendous Uniforms

Today the Phillies unveiled a new uniform look they will be rolling out for six games during the 2016 season and, let’s not beat around the bush here, they’re bad. They’re really, really bad.

Before we get caught up in the ways the uniform is an unmitigated failure, let’s acknowledge the one thing the Phillies did right. They avoided what, for me, is the #1 worst uniform offense: inconsistency across looks. The worst offender in this category in recent history is the Padres who have an utterly bizarre and distracting penchant for using script logo on their home jerseys and a completely unconnected block lettering on their away jerseys. You know what a Red Sox uniform looks like or a Marlins uniform or an Athletics uniform, but the Padres look is an incoherent mashing of ideas.

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Phillies Claim LaFromboise, DFA Biddle

A bit of news from the Phillies as they continue working to finalize their spring roster in advance of pitchers and catchers reporting to camp (in less than three weeks!):

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Who Are You: Vincent Velasquez

This is part of an ongoing series profiling new members of the 2016 Phillies roster. Previous installments:

Jeremy Hellickson
Peter Bourjos
Charlie Morton


Vincent Velasquez – RHP
Born: 6/7/92, entering age 24 season
Height: 6’3″, Weight: 205 lb.
MiLB Career: 26-14, 3.28 ERA, 296.1 IP, 29.0 K%,  8.3 BB%
2015 MLB: 1-1, 4.37 ERA, 55.2 IP, 25.1 K%, 9.1 BB%
Contract Status: pre-arb; not arbitration eligible until 2019 at the earliest

History

If you’ve heard the hyperbolic scouting adage that all major leaguers were once shortstops, Vincent Velasquez is not the player you can go to as evidence to the contrary. An elbow injury kept Velasquez off the mound for the entirety of his junior year in high school and pushed him to shortstop. In his senior year, however, he returned to the mound and caught the attention of scouts with his low-90s fastball, impressive changeup, and developing curveball. The Houston Astros were impressed enough to take him in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft as the #58 overall pick.

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Projections, Arbitrary End Points, and Hope

For better and for worse, it’s projection season in baseball. Spring training has yet to begin, but rosters are gradually taking their final shape, or as close to the final shape as we’ll know before a single pitch is thrown. Consequently, computers are sorting through the past few seasons of statistical data and spitting out their best projections for what players will do in 2016. Roll those player projections in with roster projections and we’re beginning to get ideas of how computers “think” teams will perform this year. Unsurprisingly, the computers aren’t impressed with the Phillies but perhaps somewhat surprising is the degree to which they’re unimpressed.

Along with small sample sizes, one of the more common statistical traps we fall into with baseball analysis is arbitrary endpoints. When you think about it, every season stat line you’ve ever looked at is defined by arbitrary endpoints. Are stats from the 162 games played between April and October truly more meaningful than the stats for a 162 game set played between July and the following June? In most ways the answer is no. But season starts and finishes are extraordinarily convenient endpoints and so they regularly appear in analyses. There’s nothing wrong with season-to-season analysis as long as we’re aware that there’s an arbitrary nature to the statistics we’re dealing with. I say all of this to set up a quick look at an even more arbitrary endpoint: 1st and 2nd halves.

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Phillies Sign David Lough to a Minor League Deal

The Phillies announced yesterday the signing of outfielder David Lough to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. The club’s outfield is essentially set already with Aaron Altherr and Odubel Herrera starting in left and center field, respectively, and Peter Bourjos tentatively slated to start in right field. Rule 5 pick Tyler Goeddel would serve off the bench and both Cody Asche and Darin Ruf have experience playing the outfield where they could contribute in a pinch.

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Venezuelan Summer League Shutdown Will Impact Phillies

In a bit of under the radar news that’s highly significant for the Philadelphia Phillies, Ben Badler of Baseball America reported that the Venezuelan Summer League is cancelling its 2016 season.

The Phillies were one of four teams with an affiliate in the league which is comprised primarily of 17- to 19-year-olds that are unknown to virtually all baseball fans stateside. The 2015 VSL Phillies top performers were: a 19-year-old outfielder named Enger Jimenez who batted .307/.380/.443 and has been playing for the VSL Phillies since he was 16 and a 20-year-old left-handed pitcher named Sergio Velis who posted a 1.33 ERA in 74.2 innings. Take a look at their roster on Baseball-Reference. If there’s a name you’ve heard of it might be catcher Lenin Rodriguez who signed with a $300,000 bonus in 2014 or maybe you’ve seen the name Freddy Zorrilla before simply because his name is Freddy Zorrilla. Beyond that, it’s littered with names even the most devoted Phillies fans have never heard and, likely, never will hear. The chances of making it all the way from a foreign rookie league like the VSL or the Dominican Summer League to the majors are minimal at best.

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Who Are You: Charlie Morton

This is part of an ongoing series profiling new members of the 2016 Phillies roster. Previous installments:

Jeremy Hellickson
Peter Bourjos


Charlie Morton RHP
Born: 11/12/83, entering age 32 season
Height: 6’5″, Weight: 225 lb.
2015 Stats: 9-9, 4.81 ERA, 129 IP, 17.1 K%, 7.3 BB%, 57.3 GB%, 21.5 FB%, 80 ERA+
Career: 45-70, 4.54 ERA, 875.2 IP, 15.8 K%, 8.5 BB%, 55.3 GB%, 23.9 FB%, 84 ERA+
Contract Status: $8M in 2016; $9.5M team option for 2017 with a $1M buyout

History

In the 2002 MLB Draft, the Atlanta Braves took a local high school outfielder named Jeff Francoeur in the 1st round, a local high school catcher named Brian McCann in the 2nd round, and a high school pitcher from Connecticut named Charlie Morton in the third round. Francoeur and McCann went on to have success (and, in Francoeur’s case, failure) with the major league team, but Morton was traded less than a year after his 2008 MLB debut to the Pittsburgh Pirates with Gorkys Hernandez and Jeff Locke for outfielder Nate McLouth.

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