Crash Bag, Vol. 15 – Is Ben Davis a Hot Dog?
Everyone have a great weekend, as the weather heats up and the Phillies play the Nationals and Mets every season until the end of time.
For now the best place to ask questions is on Twitter, either @ me (@Matt_Winkelman or @CrashburnAlley). But you can also reply in the comments here and I will will have some sort of better way for future mailbags.
@KeithWinder: If each CSN Phillies broadcaster was a backyard bbq food item, what would they be?
I may have a low opinion of the Phillies booth, which is one of the worst in the league. Last year they were watchable about 50% of the time (when Matt Stairs was on), and it has only gone downhill from there.
Tom McCarthy – Grilled Chicken Breast
You can marinate it, you can put sauce on it, or you could cook it perfectly, but it will always be incredibly boring. TMac isn’t really that bad, he is fringe average, and when paired with a color guy who is just bad, listeners just don’t stand a chance.
Ben Davis – Burnt Hot Dog
Ben Davis is a scourge on the Phillies broadcast. He provides maybe a point of insight per year, but usually spends the time spewing inane babble and useless information. Much like the inedible hot dog left on the grill for too long, Ben Davis stinks up the whole place and makes everything else around him look that much worse.
John Kruk – Frozen Burger
I will admit, I have not listened to much Kruk this year, but what I have found is that it really isn’t that insightful. He isn’t an idiot, but I don’t feel like much he says has relevance to the game. Occasionally he is really insightful, and it redeems it some. Frozen burgers are totally fine and acceptable, but you can improve on them with a bit of time and energy.
Mike Schmidt – The burnt grime on the grill
Mike Schmidt was a great baseball player, one of the best, but he continues to stick around in a way that causes great annoyance and unpleasantness. In the booth, he is a holder of bad opinions about players (Cody Asche All-Star?) and the game, as well as being offensively sexist. Like that grime on the grill it is the reminder of a great meal, but it also makes you resent it a little bit.
Gregg Murphy – Veggie Burger
Veggie burgers are almost always well intentioned. If the host is an omnivore, they get them to be inclusive to all of their guests, and a vegetarian may bring them to not offend their host and to fit in. Meanwhile, it is completely possible for a vegetarian to have plenty to eat without resorting to making their food look like meat. Gregg Murphy seems smart and insightful, but because they feel that someone must wander the park endlessly, we are subjected to a charade of well meaning, but completely useless, trivia and human interest stories.
@byBenHarris: If it’s not too late…which is more surprising, Phillies hitting second most 2-strike HRs or Phillies seeing second most pitches per PA
It has to be the Phillies seeing more pitches. The two strike home runs are a bit strange, but the Phillies starters pitch around the strike zone without elite stuff, and the bullpen has some really bad pitchers in the back end. So while it wasn’t likely, there was a pathway to it. As for seeing pitches, the Phillies added two hitters to their lineup in Michael Saunders and Howie Kendrick. Saunders has a career P/PA of 4.08, which is a large improvement on Peter Bourjos’ 3.44 rate last season. Howie Kendrick is historically an aggressive hitter with a career P/PA rate of 3.68, but he looks great to open the year at 4.06. Those two additions will move the needle some, but the change has to be coming from the Phillies’ returning players.
The big improvement obviously is from Maikel Franco, who has worked deeper counts. Cameron Rupp has offset some of his poor start with an increased walk rate, and if he can keep that up with his typical power, he could hold on to the job for a little bit longer. I also want to call out the two rookies when it comes to the team improvement. Andrew Knapp only has 10 plate appearances, but he has seen 5.20 pitches per plate appearance, and Brock Stassi is average 4.86 pitches over his 14 plate appearances.
@CommodoreSays: Ceiling for Daniel Brito? Thanks, Matt!
Absolute ceiling? All-Star level second baseman. But you can play the ceiling game with a lot of players, so what is more realistic? Brito is a plus hitter, maybe even more. Despite 2 home runs in 7 games, his power is probably more fringe average. He is quick, but not a burner, so maybe 15-20 steals a year in the majors. His defense at second base is really good, as he has a shortstop’s glove but not the arm. So that leaves the ceiling for Brito as a good glove second baseman that hits .280ish with 10-15 home runs and 15-20 stolen bases. That is a really solid player.
@DashTreyhorn: Why is Clay Buchholz?
This is the Philadelphia Phillies we are talking about, happiness is a foreign concept. This team had too many positive things coming along, so Matt Klentak was required to acquire a player that would provide pain and disappointment. Buchholz is the perfect candidate for the job. He had just enough upside to be intriguing and get your hopes up. Even if Buchholz had been healthy all year, or even good at pitching, each of his starts would be an unpleasant affair. The Phillies even traded something for him that fans can regret letting go of (Josh Tobias), and a player they didn’t sign that they #shouldofkept (Charlie Morton).
Clay Buchholz exists to provide fanbases pain.