It’s Minor League Recap Season!!!
On Tuesday, Jeff Moore from Baseball Prospectus and MLB Prospect Watch posted, to the latter site, his Organizational Recap of the Phillies 2014 Minor League Season. He highlighted J.P. Crawford, Jesse Biddle, Maikel Franco, Willians Astudillo and Aaron Nola for various positive, and in Biddle’s case, negative reasons. With that in mind, I’d like to take some time to talk about a bunch of deeper Phillies high and low lights that someone from a national publication might not find interesting enough to mention, but that you ought to know about or I wanted to mention in order to make a joke.
Best Surprise/Still Most Confusing:
Brian Pointer – I talked about Pointer extensively earlier in the year on this site, when he was white hot. He cooled a bit but finished strong, capping off a monster of a second half with a really solid .866 OPS in August, to finish with a wRC+ of 117 at age 22 in a league with plenty of 22-year-olds. His K Rate is a big issue in his game, as is whether the bat profiles in a corner OF spot. My big issue remains that I have seen no scouting on him all year and he’s not slated to play in the Arizona Fall League or even the Florida Instructional League (FIL). So for now, I will pretend like I’ve seen a whole mess of scouting on him and it’s all good. Sometimes fooling myself is just easier than trying to put logic to my gut feelings. I am not ashamed.
Roman Quinn – This is a tough category, as two well known guys made strides after significant injuries. Willians “ISOed Less Than Erick Aybar” Astudillo came back from knee surgery to have a fine year at the plate, and caught a fair number of games, (which is huge for his value), but really, Quinn has to be the pick here. Quinn was out for the latter part of 2013 with a broken bone in his wrist, but the real blow came when he popped his achilles tendon while doing some sprints in the fall, (lesson for all you kids out there: running is dumb. Just watch TV). He had surgery shortly thereafter, but for a guy whose elite speed is his carrying tool, this kind of injury was a gut punch. Quinn was back by mid-May and started off a little slowly, and was eventually moved off shortstop and to his natural spot in center field, in favor of J.P. Crawford. Quinn finally made it back to form in mid-July. He reached base safely every game from the second game of a double header on July 17 thru August 5. In those 20 games, Quinn had six multi-hit games, walked 11 times, stole 14 bases in 17 tries (82%), and he had eight XBH in 91 PAs. He’ll be back in the org’s Top 5 or 6 on pretty much every list this off-season, I’d guess.
Worst (or Least) Comeback:
Shane Watson and Adam Morgan – Both men suffered through shoulder issues last year, and had off-season surgery. Watson’s seemed less severe based on the type of surgery and the speculation of many around the game, but really, anyone who tells you they know about shoulder injuries and doesn’t have M and a D tacked on the end of their name is blowing smoke up your rotator cuff.
We heard from Joe Jordan at the end of June (via Philly.com) that Morgan was expected back pitching sometime in the summer, with “meaningful innings” in August. In that same interview we heard Watson would be back for instructs. But Jay Floyd reported just two weeks later that Jordan told him Watson was shut down for the year and will just be preparing for spring training, and that Morgan would be pushed back to instructs. Morgan’s not on the FIL roster as of yesterday, according to the list posted by PhuturePhillies.com’s Jim Peyton, though the player has said on Twitter that he’ll be throwing in “uniform” (the gray T-shirt the guys wear in Clearwater) this month.
As with many minor league injuries, we’re mostly kept in the dark on the finer points of progress of these two guys, so who knows if there’s reason for even a sliver of optimism at this point. From Twitter we know that Watson did recently get engaged, though. So he’s got that going for him. And Morgan, uhh…shot animals, probably…I can’t remember. Like hunting, though, not like on The Leftovers. (I’d have said spoiler alert, but whatever – you’ve had all summer to watch that mess).
Best New Name:
Arquimedes Gamboa – July 2 signee Gamboa narrowly beats out 26th Round Draft Pick Jacques de Gruy from Samford, (correction – he went to Furman, not Samford). Gamboa’s only 16, of course, as are most J2 guys. Even the college guys are really signing pretty young, though. Most of them are 21 or 22. It’s hard to believe anyone has the time it takes to mature into an adult as they rise through the ranks of the organization to the majors.
Best Video Game Player:
Ranger Suarez – This was easy. Suarez’ K:BB Ratio of 78:1 (one) in 80.2 IP on MLB 14: The Show proves he’s the best gamer in the org. No – hang on – that was in the Venezuelan Summer League. He really made those numbers with his arm and a ball? I don’t believe it for a second. It’s probably the Hugo Chavez Propaganda Machine at work. (Yes, I know he’s been dead for over a year, but I couldn’t remember the name of his successor off the top of my head and most of you likely wouldn’t get the reference if I did, so…Chavez it is).
Easiest Guy To Like Based On Twitter Persona:
( ) – Two sads happened in this category earlier in the year, as both perennial champ Jiwan James and my personal favorite Chris Nichols were released. In their memory, I will not name a current champion. Also, these new guys really need to up their tweet games. I’m getting “____ Humor” and fake Will Ferrell accounts in my timeline all year. Come on, dudes. Come up with something.
I did like when a bunch of the Williamsport guys took some snapshots of themselves in Manhattan during the club’s road trip to the city. They tried to tag it with “CuttersInNYC” but most of them just couldn’t stick with the tag. I hope they develop the discipline needed to be a successful pro as they rise through the ranks of the organization to the majors.
You saw that one coming, didn’t you?
Photos via Associated Press