Ben Revere set the bar for defense very high very early on in the season, making this catch against the Cincinnati Reds:
Once upon a BP dreary, while I scouted weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious swinger of Philadelphian org,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a cracking,
As of someone harshly smacking, smacking at lobbed balls galore.
`’Tis a five o’clock hitter,’ I muttered, `smacking lobbed balls galore –
Only this, and nothing more.’
Ah, but he continued slaying, pitch by pitch which he was spraying,
The pure stick he was displaying on the balls twas waging war.
Eagerly I started noting; – here’s a bat I would be doting
Someone’s OFP is bloating – bloating for the Hit Tool Whore –
For the rare and radiant weapon that the angels name Susdorf –
Tool-less here for evermore.
And the heavy, wise commotion of the seat behind me’s motion
Thrilled me – filled me with fantastic terrors often felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`’Tis some scout I’d be entreating, who I’m seated just before.
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my scouting door; –
This it is, and nothing more,’
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,’ said I, while turning, ‘truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and this hitter began rapping,
Reputation he is lacking, might you tell me something more?’
Silence there, and nothing more.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I sat there wondering, fearing,
Doubting hit tool dreams I’d never dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Susdorf.’
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Susdorf.’
Merely this and nothing more.
Back to the ballfield turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard that rapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,’ said I, `surely that is something there in batting practice;
Tell me, sir, what that is, and this mystery explore –
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore.’
Just wind and nothing more.
His coldness did cause me to shutter, when, with a look my heart did flutter,
Finally, this scouting maven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; for this BP stopped and stayed he;
And all the hitters did grade he, perched behind my scouting door –
Perched here in this soft-drink palace just behind my scouting door –
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this ivory man beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though your face is quite unshaven,’ he said, `your persistence isn’t craven,’
Said to me the scouting maven who I prayed would tell me more-
‘Tell me what this man can do beside smack lobbed balls galore’
Quoth the maven, `Nothingmore.’
Much I marveled this ungainly owl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning – little relevancy bore;
For the bat is most important, without the power will lay dormant
So I peered at my informant perched behind my scouting door –
Right or wrong I seek to learn from the wise one at my scouting door,
With such comment as `Nothingmore.’
But the maven, unimpressed by the tools he’d just addressed,
That hit tool, as if my soul in that one tool I did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered – no opinion would he flutter –
Till I scarcely more than muttered `I’ve not seen bats like this galore –
Tis a rare thing to be seeing, just a few times heretofore.’
Then the scout said, `Nothingmore.’
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,’ said I, `what holes you’ve poken are of secondary bore,
Yes, I’d like him to run faster and his power’s a disaster
Centerfield he hasn’t mastered so a corner he’ll explore –
But the bat is there and tis was has an impact on the score.
Silliness, this – nothingmore.’
But the maven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Next to him at first pitch filing hoping I could still implore;
Then, upon the cushion sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous scout of yore –
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous scout of yore
Meant in croaking `Nothingmore.’
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the man whose fiery eyes now burned into fat catcher’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
And my lousy stopwatch timing things it’s often timed before,
With its crimson rubber lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
It too does nothingmore.
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Susdorf who can track balls thrown from chest to floor.
`Wretch,’ I cried at the maven, `thy God hath lent thee – by these angels he has sent thee
Respite – respite and nepenthe to deter the Hit Tool Whore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and let be the Hit Tool Whore!’
Quoth the maven, `Nothingmore.’
`Prophet!’ said I, `thing of evil! – prophet still, if scout or devil! –
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this cheesesteak land enchanted –
On this home by horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore –
Is there – is there bat speed in Gilead? – tell me – tell me, I implore!’
Quoth the maven, ` Nothingmore.’
`Prophet!’ said I, `thing of evil! – prophet still, if Special Assistant to the General Manager or devil!
By that League that bends above us – by The Show we both adore –
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Susdorf –
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels name Susdorf?’
Quoth the maven, `Nothingmore.’
`Be that word our sign of parting, evaluator or fiend!’ I shrieked upstarting –
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no business card as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my radar gun unbroken! – quit this ballpark I adore!
Take thy pen from out my heart, apply it to thy sheet of score!’
Quoth the maven, `Nothingmore.’
And the maven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
In this Coca-Cola palace while I try to scout some more;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the stadium light streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that immerses Hit Tool Whore-
Shall be lifted – nevermore.
My Grade: D
With the progression of Phillippe Aumont having turned into regression, the arrival of J.C. Ramirez to the Majors gave the Phillies one last avenue to salvage the Cliff Lee trade. In a move that precipitated the Roy Halladay era in Philadelphia, the Phillies traded Lee to the Mariners for Ramirez, Aumont, and Tyson Gillies. Gillies has had problems of his own in the Minors — including a drug offense — so it was up to Ramirez.
One of the interesting things about the draft is how quickly returns diminish. You hope to get a major league regular in the first round or two, but once you get around to, say, picking guys from Nebraska junior colleges in the 30th round, any positive major league contribution counts as shooting the moon.
Some years ago, I described Chad Durbin as being like a Manhattanite without a car or a bus pass–walks everywhere. As a rookie, Diekman walked 6.6 men per 9 innings. That that’s a terrible walk rate. If, like Diekman, you’re left-handed, tall and throw a mid-to-upper 90s from a low arm slot, you can get away with walking a few guys. J.C. Romero, remember, was pretty darn good for a while, and he couldn’t find the strike zone with a bloodhound and a map.
Over the weekend, we learned that Games 1 and 2 of the World Series got poor ratings, a continuing trend — last year’s Games 1 and 2 along with this year’s were the only two sets in history to get single-digit overnight ratings. As Steve LePore pointed out earlier this year at SB Nation, baseball got 3.37 million viewers in 2003 but just 2.5 million in 2012. ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball dropped from 2.75 million in 2007 to 1.78 million in 2012.
Michael Stutes was an interesting player in 2011, an ascending young reliever who debuted in late April and stuck the rest of the year. He wasn’t appreciably better than, say, pre-injury David Herndon, but he looked like he might be able to stick around for a bit.
Injuries seriously derailed the intrigue. After undergoing arthroscopic shoulder surgery and appearing in just six games in 2012, Stutes dealt with biceps tendinitis through the majority of 2013, missing three months (plus nearly all of April and May after being passed over for Phillippe Aumont out of spring training). So, it’s safe to say the road has been a bit rocky for the young man.
Giles had just one appearance this week, his first multi-inning excursion this fall. Fastball still sitting 95-97mph though it was down to 93mph towards the end of his second inning of work. He also threw what looked to be his first two changeups this month. He’s still living up in the zone far too often and the control is just okay. Still, the pure fastball velocity is missing pretty good Fall League bats. Giles is making the case to start the 2013 season in Reading despite a poor showing in the Florida State league during the season.
John McDonald was emblematic of the type of role players the Phillies tried so hard to succeed with in 2013. No one was truly versatile; they had one strength if any at all, and several glaring weaknesses. John Mayberry can hit lefties but not much else. Kevin Frandsen can hit for average and not much else. Freddy Galvis can’t hit but can play superb defense. Laynce Nix didn’t do anything at all. Roger Bernadina hit under .200 but played adequate defense. Casper Wells was abominable. Pete Orr, nothing. Ezequiel Carrera, nothing.
After the 2012 season, the need for a backup catcher was an obvious one. Brian Schneider was departing, Carlos Ruiz was to serve a 25-game suspension to start the year and Erik Kratz appeared to be the only viable option in-house. So, in late November, the Phillies inked veteran caller Humberto Quintero to a minor-league deal, ostensibly with the intention to have him begin the year on the roster with minimal financial commitment.