Moving Past Tyson Gillies

Phillies Minor Leaguer Tyson Gillies went 0-for-14 at the dish playing for Canada in the World Baseball Classic and was prominently involved in the on-field brawl between his team and Mexico:

Prior to leaving camp in Clearwater, Gillies had gone 1-for-9 with five strikeouts in five exhibition games with the Phillies. But none of that is why the Phillies should start closing the book on Gillies. It’s because of Ben Revere.

Gillies suffered from a thigh injury in 2011, limiting his playing time and his effectiveness. He bounced back last year, posting an .822 OPS in 311 plate appearances with Double-A Reading. Like Revere, Gillies derives most of his offensive value from maintaining a high batting average, but there is no guarantee that he would be able to hit for a high average at the Major League level yet. He is 24 years old and has yet to face Triple-A pitching. While being older relative to his Minor League peers certainly didn’t deter Darin Ruf last year with Reading, seasons like his are incredibly rare and the Phillies should not gamble on Gillies clicking as he faces better and better competition.

The other part of his offensive game, stealing bases, has appeared lackluster, particularly after his thigh injury. Since 2010, he has stolen 11 bases in 19 attempts spanning 100 times on base via single, walk, and hit by pitch. Comparatively, Revere stole 40 bases in 49 attempts last year with the Minnesota Twins spanning 163 times on base via single, walk, and hit by pitch.

Gillies likely won’t ever find regular playing time with the Phillies even if he does put it together unless he somehow breaks out and shows some power potential. He is similar in many ways to Revere, but everything Gillies does well, Revere does better and has done it better at the Major League level. Furthermore, his bat is too weak to play in a corner and his defense becomes less useful.

While it would have been nice to see another piece of the Cliff Lee trade pan out — the future is still unclear for Phillippe Aumont — it just doesn’t seem likely that all the pieces will come together for Gillies to have a long and prosperous career in Philadelphia.

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18 comments

  1. Tyler

    March 12, 2013 09:59 AM

    will blake beavan be the best player traded for cliff lee? or will aumont pass him

  2. nik

    March 12, 2013 10:06 AM

    Bartolo Colon had plenty of very good seasons after being traded for Lee. Granted Lee wasnt even the main player going for Colon at that point. Also surprisingly Lou Marson has already accumulated 3.0 fWAR and Carlos Carrasco 1.5 fWAR, higher totals than I would have expected.

  3. LTG

    March 12, 2013 11:44 AM

    What does moving on from Tyson Gillies amount to? Is this a stance fans should take? Is there something the organization should do with Gillies?

    I agree with the brief analysis here but I don’t know what, if anything, should change as a result.

  4. EricL

    March 12, 2013 11:53 AM

    “Furthermore, his bat is too weak to play in a corner and his defense becomes less useful.”

    Really? Brett Gardner, for example, has had a number of years where he’s been quite valuable despite his weak bat because of his corner defense. Revere was worth 13 defensive runs above replacement, and 3.4 fWAR, even after subtracting his positional factor, while playing 2/3rds of the the time in RF last year.

    Speedy, light-hitting guys are, I think, viable options for the corners if they’re really good defensively and add value on the bases.

  5. Bill Baer

    March 12, 2013 12:05 PM

    @ LTG

    It’s spring training and there’s nothing interesting going on.

    @ EricL

    I don’t think Gardner is a good comparison as he is vastly superior in many ways.

    Gardner has a career .326 wOBA, including .333 in 2010-11 combined. Gillies would have to make a lot of progress to be that productive offensively.

    Gardner added about a win (10 runs) on the bases in each of 2010 and ’11. He steals with frequency and efficiency (96-for-118, 83%), something Gillies hadn’t shown in recent years.

    Gardner was worth about 50 fielding runs according to FanGraphs. I am always suspicious of UZR’s accuracy. Furthermore, Granderson is supposedly mediocre in center, so perhaps Gardner had more opportunities to make plays out of his zone than a corner OF on the Phillies will with Revere in center.

  6. LTG

    March 12, 2013 02:28 PM

    truth

  7. CB

    March 12, 2013 03:42 PM

    He has been injury plagued.

  8. Eric Longenhagen

    March 12, 2013 03:57 PM

    Over-hyped. Look at that swing. Look at the defense. It’s a bench OF.

  9. Schufan

    March 12, 2013 05:58 PM

    Gillies was never a prospect of any kind. He put up some superficially good numbers at High Desert which is like Coors Field multiplied by Baker Bowl. The average player on the 2009 HD roster hit .298/.364/.490.

    Gillies’ only asset was speed but he wasn’t even a good base stealer, and the speed has diminished with all the injuries. He was never a particularly good fielder, so without the legs, he’s got no usable skill. He is unlikely even to be a backup OF in the majors.

  10. topdown1

    March 12, 2013 10:36 PM

    The Cliff Lee trade was a fiasco all the way around. It should have never have happened. I never understood any part of it. The Phillies were very lucky to ever get him back.

  11. FrankKlose

    March 12, 2013 11:35 PM

    They probably could outright him when teams set their Opening Day rosters and he would get through.

  12. Pencilfish

    March 13, 2013 09:22 AM

    If Gillies is no more than a potential bench OF, should the Phillies try to keep Ender Inciarte somehow? Do people think he has a higher ceiling that Gillies? Since he’s a Rule 5 player, the Phillies must either keep him in the 25-man roster all season (long shot) or attempt to work out a trade with the D’backs before ST is over.

  13. Jonny5

    March 13, 2013 09:59 AM

    His nickname is Hamster for having so many hamstring issues. At his age it’s worrisome to me. He’s been suspended by the team for going nuts on a bus driver. He’s been arrested for possession of cocaine. Besides what his numbers show us anyway.

  14. Bill Baer

    March 13, 2013 10:11 AM

    The drug charge was dismissed.

    On August 20, 2010, Gillies was arrested and charged in Clearwater, Florida on felony cocaine possession.[5] After attending a bar the night of the arrest, Gillies was offered a ride to his hotel by a police officer. Before entering the police cruiser, the officer searched Gillies for weapons and paraphernalia and did not find Gillies to be possessing anything illegal. Upon dropping Gillies off, the officer found a three-gram bag of a white powdery substance that appeared to be cocaine on the floor of the backseat of the cruiser and arrested Gillies for possession. Within hours[6] of the arrest, Gillies underwent drug testing and showed no traces of cocaine, marijuana or opiates in his system.[7]

    The state attorney’s office dropped all charges against Gillies because the backseat of the cruiser was not thoroughly searched before Gillies entered the vehicle, the officer failed to find the substance during a routine search of Gillies before he entered the vehicle, and because the substance failed two on-site drug tests.[8]

  15. Jonny5

    March 13, 2013 02:48 PM

    Thanks for that Bill. I don’t know what to take from an arrest/ dismissal of charges, so I guess I’ll take nothing from it as I should. My point was to say there are possibly other issues with this young man that go beyond on field production.

  16. hampton

    March 13, 2013 10:16 PM

    I’m curious: who among the Phillies young arms looks more promising than Aumont? He was damn good for a stretch last year. It would be very surprising to me if he started the season in AAA.

    Assuming Defratus and Stutes are healthy and continue to pitch well, Durbin, who’s also pitching well, should be shopped. $1 million isn’t all that much to a team with aspirations to contend and which needs a versatile, veteran bullpen arm. Hate to see Durbin take innings from any of our younger righties if they’re ready.

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