Crashbag Vol. 17 – Do Not Seek The Treasure

Hey, it’s my first Crashbag. Hope it gives you a chuckle, or failing that, that at least you think I’m an idiot afterwards.

Mark Appel was a #1 overall pick and now someone has asked a question about whether he’ll have as good a career as a guy who posted one and one fifth career WAR (I averaged BRef and Fangraphs…for…science). That this is even a realistic question is just a brutal assessment of Appel. Harsh. Poor guy.

I liked Condrey in ’08 – he was reliable-ish, and threw a pretty good ground ball rate over 69 innings, (interesting), while lacking an out pitch that could have helped him out of some jams. Though even one more out would have ruined that “interesting” season, so…

Expectations for Appel have cratered over the last few years. His fastball is hittable, his secondaries are inconsistent, and he’s had trouble pitching from the stretch, which is not so helpful in shoring up his floor as a big league bullpen piece. In the end, Appel would have to really stabilize his performance in the coming months, or maybe just weeks, in order to avoid being pushed into the AAA bullpen this year. From there, the club will trim his arsenal to a fastball and likely a slider and little else to see how it plays. I’d expect to see him in the MLB in September for a look, and competing for a bullpen job next year.

So to answer the original question – what do I know, man? Probably he’ll manage a longer career than Condrey, with better stuff to help him run up some stats that would pass Condrey pretty easily. Maybe.

If it’s #1 overall picks, Pat Burrell beats Mickey Moniak in a two-man contest, based solely on his deceased dog. But damn that’s morbid, so let’s assume the question is “who’s my favorite Phils first round pick”. The easy answer is Chase Utley because he is and always will be the best person at anything he does and I will punch you like a Pepe if you say otherwise. But the actual answer is Carlton Loewer, because he once, while under big league contract, broke his leg falling out of a tree while hunting, again proving that hunting for sport is dumb.

If I’m in charge, Hoskins is down all year, and only gets a 40-man spot in September if there’s not a compelling reason to save the spot for a contest between players battling to not get cut. The 40-man is a bear right now, and anyone who can be kept off this season should be, lest someone who may yet be useful gets dropped and lost to another organization. Empty spots should be used for scrap-heapin’ as possible, and Rhys Hoskins should just be allowed to mash his way to an International League MVP.

In the same world, Perkins may come up as an internal “scrap heap” project. He’s not been tossed away by anyone, but it’s the same gist. Maybe he hits enough to stick a while, and maybe he passes back through waivers if you need the spot in the off-season and you try the same exercise next year, and maybe in 2019 he’s playing in Korea and then in 2022 he comes back to the states and hits a ton for a month and looks stronger and everyone thinks he must have done steroids because they don’t know about Korean testing protocols. Maybe.

The team that signs Robert is likely to be one over their 2016 cap already and so will be hindered in 2017. The Phils have a large bonus pool for ’17, and have certainly been lining up mid-high bonus signees for the start of the International Signing Period on July 2. Signing Robert in May or whenever he’s available will push them over their 2016 cap and subject the club to penalties, thereby forcing them to break a bunch of agreements they’ve lined up. Not great for the club’s reputation in future deals.

Also he has two first names and that’s just asking for trouble. Look at all the hoops Tommy Joseph had to jump through to get to the majors. He had to not get brain damage from multiple concussions, then somehow not develop osteoporosis before he figured out first base and started to mash AAA pitching.

All. He wins them all forever.

I would like to point out that I’m not a German Nationalist or whatever actual German-specific Nazis would want to be called now. I have some very old familial roots in the Rhineland-Palatinate region of Germany, and that’s where Aaron Altherr was born, to a US Service member mother and a former German pro soccer player father. I put together that he was from “place I’m from”, plus Mike Trout‘s excellent “Millville Meteor” nickname had been around for a bit, and so I made up the nickname because I like good nicknames, as opposed to shitty ones like “ARod” and (don’t @ me) “JRoll”. Those are nicknames someone in junior high could tag someone with.

Do we call Ted Williams “TDub”? Babe Ruth “BRut”? Lou “LG” Gehrig? Walter “WaJo” Johnson? Nope. The present-day writers of our great national pastime should be ashamed of themselves. Trout’s is good thanks to an outsider. I like “King Felix”. But “MadBum” is “SadDumb” and BRef seems to think Clayton Kershaw is called “The Minotaur” which I have never heard and is not very good. The Minotaur gets killed by a guy called Theseus, who sounds, coincidentally, like someone who would be helpful at coming up with different words for nicknames. Anyway:

RHINELAND ROCKET FOR MVP ’17-’29

So based on context, I think this is a question about Sheriff Seth Bullock of Deadwood, but maybe it’s a question about Brian McCann, circa 2013. Which begs the question: who’s the bigger asshole, McCann or Bullock? Because no matter how much I like the show, the Seth Bullock character is an asshole. A noble asshole, sure. But an asshole. And I’m sure Brian McCann thought himself noble in the face of Carlos Gomez, standing up for the integrity of the game like one would a gold-striking widow without an ally, or Cornish mine laborers threatened by Pinkerton cocksuckers. McCann, like Bullock, is upholding unwritten rules, though Bullock believes his will soon be codified by the establishment, while McCann worries his might be erased by outsiders.

So McCann’s the bigger asshole. On to the next round, where he faces the winner of MadBum/FranWol. Can’t wait for that one.

And finally…

Vince Velasquez is Homer Stokes because he loves three Ks in a row but it could be his downfall. Cesar Hernandez is Tommy Johnson because he must have sold his soul to be as good as he’s been. Jerad Eickhoff is “Man Of Constant Sorrow” because he’s not the one we were expecting to get, but he’s a treasure nonetheless. (Yes, Jerad, you’re a song. Sorry, but it’s true).

Aaron Altherr is Uli Kunkel because he’s from Germany and I doubt he can fix your cable. Cam Rupp is Walter Sobchak because honestly, just look at him. Maikel Franco is The Big Lebowski and Matt Stairs is Walter Sobchak (in this case) because the latter thinks he can make the former walk even though it seems unlikely to everyone else.

Jeanmar Gomez is Norville Barnes because he was given a job no one thinks he can do, then has it quickly and predictably taken away. I guess that makes Joaquin Benoit Sid Mussburger because he’s the well-paid guy the organization really wants in the role. And Hector Neris is Moses because he’s probably the one who’ll make a save at the end of the year.

And now I’m gonna R-U-N-N-O-F-T.

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15 comments

  1. Tim

    April 28, 2017 11:57 AM

    The A-Rod modeled nicknames are truly the laziest, and to use your example, the Splendid Splinter probably would be TDub today. But I do make an exception for JRoll because the “roll” part connects to Jimmy’s swagger, and it also kind of sounds like Jellyroll, which goes down as one of the great all-time nicknames of a cultural figure.

    I also went to a college where everyone’s email address was first initial, last name. Since it was small enough that you could be confident of no duplicates, you could confidently just type in that combo to email anyone without checking. Anway, it led to pretty much anyone with a pronounceable first-initial-last-name combo getting that as their inevitable nickname, which kind of got old.

    • Todd

      April 29, 2017 06:40 AM

      Yes, totally agree with the lame, “J-Lo”ish nicknames. Not sure that I’ll give you JRoll as an exception though. Still feels lame to me, swagger or not. However, not all modern nicknames are lame… The Big Piece, THE MAN, Chooch, Flyin’ Hawaiian, Hollywood, Doc… probably some others I’m forgetting.

  2. NJ Mike

    April 28, 2017 11:58 AM

    Condrey. He was actually a fairly effective middle reliever here for 4 seasons from 2006-2009 (bWAR 1.8; fWAR 0.7).

    Appel does not have a single plus pitch and he struggles mightily pitching from the stretch. I’ll be surprised if he even pitches at the MLB level for 4 seasons as a reliever.

    • Brad Engler

      April 28, 2017 12:47 PM

      We don’t know how his stuff may play up in the pen. Also, if, and I have no way of assuming this is an issue, but if some of his trouble is mental, short outings may be an effective aid.

      • NJ Mike

        April 28, 2017 10:51 PM

        He continues to struggle from the stretch this year early on and the reports on his stuff have not been positive in the early going.

        He will be 26 this July and in another year or two is entering the territory of minor league journeyman.

  3. maude

    April 28, 2017 12:08 PM

    this story is ludicrous.

    • Brad Engler

      April 28, 2017 12:43 PM

      Thanks!

      • maude

        April 28, 2017 02:38 PM

        I assume that you know that was a big lebowski reference…

        it really is a fine article.

      • Brad Engler

        April 28, 2017 05:20 PM

        Lol, sorry Maude, I did not tie that together.

  4. Major Malfunction

    April 28, 2017 12:59 PM

    Carlton Loewer. I had to look him up. Oh, he was terrible in the minors and then for reasons unknown, the Phillies saw fit to stick him in the starting rotation for 34 starts over 2 season to the tune of 5.68 ERA, 254 H in 212 IP, and 4.75 FIP.

    Yet somehow, San Diego came knocking and the Phils swapped him, the great Adam Eaton, and Steve Montgomery to get Andy Ashby! 3 terrible pitcher for 1 terrible pitcher. The Phils traded Ashby after 16 starts going 4-7, 5.68 ERA, and 5.58 FIP.

    So the Phils essentially dumped TWO 1st round picks (Eaton 1996 and Loewer 1994) to rent Ashby for 16 games! And the Phillies got the great Bruce Chen and Jimmy Osting in return (WHO?)

    For those that don’t remember, THIS is basically how the Phils filled the roster from about 1985 until Jim Thome was signed as a FA.

    • Brad Engler

      April 28, 2017 01:38 PM

      Your conclusion is correct. Their hot stove was like 85/86 degrees, max.

    • somebody told me

      April 29, 2017 08:31 AM

      Oh man, I’m glad I was just young enough for most of the 90s (teenager) to not ever fully appreciate just how lame our personnel moves were. I remember them getting Ashby and me being excited, and don’t even get me started on how hopeful the Gregg Jeffries signing got me.

  5. Romus

    April 28, 2017 02:18 PM

    If Alfaro and Knapp push Cam Rupp aside from behind the plate…….does he chuck the baseball gig, and turn to football and become a stud NFL FB or MLB?

    • Bob D

      April 28, 2017 04:16 PM

      He would be the Tebow opposite

  6. ed

    May 04, 2017 06:29 AM

    Bar none, perhaps the dumbest nickname ever. EVER. The Rhineland what? Get on the ‘A’ train dude. Best outfielder on the team by far defensively and offensively.

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