Minor Mish Mosh and Forty Man Mayhem (There Was No Mayhem)
“I’m gonna do some writing,” I said to my wife as she dozed off Thursday night. She barely managed a groggy reply.
“You could write me a love letter.”
“A love letter about Roman Quinn?”
Roman Quinn was named to a prospect list Thursday by Jim Callis and Jom Mayo from MLB.com. They called Quinn the 23rd best prospect in the prospect-rich Arizona Fall League, which led me to wonder where he might fall on some Top 100 discussions this off-season. Almost certainly, he’ll be in the conversation for the last third of John Sickels’ Top 150, but I doubt he’ll sniff any Top 100s. Still, he did have a very fine AFL, showing a willingness to use his eye at the plate, a continued progress towards base stealing prowess, a little bit of pop, and what was described regularly as a pretty good glove, especially for someone who spent about three calendar years learning shortstop in vain. To me, he’s the Phils #4 prospect, trailing only consensus #1 J.P. Crawford and the pair of Aaron Nola and Maikel Franco, in whatever order one might prefer them. Right now, I have Franco ahead of Nola, but ask me again after Franco finishes his winter league and maybe I change my mind. FTR – Jesse Biddle and his never-ending string of stings, dings and various other uncomfortable things, holds on to fifth for the moment, pending any setbacks in his recovery from elbow tendinitis.
Another interesting guy in the off-season leagues has been Hector Neris. He’s not allowed a run in eight innings in the Dom Rep, walking one, allowing five hits and striking out five in ten outings. This following a season where the righty reliever had a long scoreless streak and a slightly better than 3:1 K:BB ratio at AAA, earning himself a spot on the 40-man roster and a one inning big league debut. He’s a guy the club may get some use out of for his option years and beyond if he keeps doing what he’s doing. He doesn’t profile in the back of a bullpen, but he could easily break camp in a low-leverage role and a chance to earn his manager’s trust, much like Mario Hollands in 2014. (h/t to @phoulballz, Jay Floyd, for highlighting Neris often on Twitter.)
Had he not been added mid-year, Neris would have needed a 40-man spot Thursday in order to be protected from the Rule 5 draft at the upcoming Winter Meetings. Three Phillies punched their 40-man tickets Thursday, Biddle, LHP Adam Morgan and RHP Nefi Ogando, who like Roman Quinn, had an impressive AFL. Theses moves, in addition to the signing of LHP Elvis Araujo last week, and the earlier deals handed out to Grady Sizemore and Jerome Williams, leave the Phillies with two open spots heading into the Rule 5. The club is set to pick 8th. Last year, in the big league portion of the draft, the Phils picked Kevin Munson from Arizona and lost Seth Rosin to the Mets. Both players eventually made it back to their original clubs, though Rosin took a Ben Revere-like route through two 25-man rosters and one former British Penal Colony.
Who’s most likely to go this year? I’d say it’s Colt Murray. If I were a second division GM, I would absolutely give him a tryout in my bullpen. He’s got some fastball velocity and enough stuff on his secondaries to warrant a long look. Some interesting but very unlikely-to-be-drafted Phillies? Ethan Stewart, whose AFL showed he needs a lot of work on his control. Rosin, who didn’t really show improvement over the season and was passed on by every team on his way back to the Phils a couple weeks into the year. And Miguel Nunez, who just plain isn’t ready to compete in the bigs. Nunez could be stashed as a mop-up/swing man type by a team not intending to contend in 2015 who was willing to sacrifice another year of development after he already lost two to injury. Seems unlikely, but you never know what scout maybe saw him and loved him and can convince a GM he’s worth a chance.
That’s it for now – I’ll try to give you my two cents on anyone the club grabs in the Rule 5, and on anyone the club nets in trades for their veteran right fielder (let’s hope it’s not Endy Chavez again), or left-handed ace (insert FanGraphs grumbling here), or large-assed lefty reliever with unwed parents, or superstar first baseman with a five year contract.