Crash Bag Vol. 24: Did You Know the Phillies Drafted Some Baseball Players?
The draft was this week and I am struggling to think about things that are not the draft.
In draft news, but actually on the topic of the Crash Bag, this will no longer be just me writing the Crash Bag after this week. Instead the Crash Bag will be written by a different Crashburn writer each week, including some appearances by some Crashburn writers who are too busy with actual real world things to regularly contribute. You can still send your questions to me on twitter and I will forward them on, you can also send them to the Crashburn Twitter or whichever writer is doing over for the week. If you aren’t on twitter you can send post them in the comments here until I figure out a good email address for them.
@DashTreyhorn: Are the Phillies *really* this bad?
No, but they are pretty bad. Pretty much everything that could have gone wrong, has gone wrong for the 2017 Phillies. They have lost Aaron Nola, Vince Velasquez, Clay Buchholz, and Cesar Hernandez to injuries at various points in time. Their big free agent signing in Michael Saunders has been incredibly bad. All of their young players other than Aaron Altherr are having worse statistical seasons. Their young pitching has been ineffective when it has come up. The bullpen picked the only good stretch by the team to be a complete disaster. Jeremy Hellickson just stopped being about to pitch competently.
If you are a GM, you plan for things to go wrong, this is baseball. What you cannot do is plan for everything to go wrong. With the 40 man roster full of prospects, the Phillies don’t have veteran or bullpen depth. Probability says that some of these things will regress towards their past performance. I don’t think this team is destined for the #1 pick, but it probably will be Top 5.
@BaseballATeam: Half of Phillies twitter is suffocating under the turgid corpse known as the 2017 roster. Can you save them?
Be patient, the future is still bright, and the future is not dependent on the success of the 2017 major league club. I still think J.P. Crawford is going to be a very good major leaguer. It might not be immediate, but Jorge Alfaro is going to be a good catcher. They have a whole mess of outfielders, and there should be a good one in the pile. We know that the Phillies don’t have room for everyone that is in the majors right now and their prospects. We know they are going to add from outside the organization whether it is in free agency or trade. There is no star pitcher ready for 2018-2019 in the organization, but they have the pieces and money to go get that level of pitcher. You add someone like that, and now you aren’t counting on someone like Eickhoff to be a rotation stalwart for you, he is maybe your #4. Velasquez may be inconsistent and maddening, but if that is your #5 starter, you can live with that. The Phillies are getting nothing out of a lot of roster spots, but we aren’t worried about Saunders being on the future team. There is a history of teams that go from bad to good quickly, so don’t worry too much right now.
@JamesSeltzer: If you had to bet your life on one of the Phillies’ current prospects being a perennial all star, who would it be and why?
I have to go with Jorge Alfaro. I still think J.P. Crawford is the best prospect in the system, but shortstop is really strong right now. The NL doesn’t quite have the elite names of the AL (Correa, Bogaerts, Lindor), but Crawford will still have to go against Corey Seager, Trea Turner, Addison Russell, Dansby Swanson, and eventually Amed Rosario. Meanwhile, Alfaro is one of the top 2-3 catching prospects in the game, and here are the 5 catchers in the NL who have qualified for the batting title with age in parentheses: Buster Posey (30), J.T. Realmuto (26), Yasmani Grandal (28), Yadier Molina (34), Matt Wieters (31). I don’t think Alfaro is an All-Star catcher immediately, but if we are talking 2-3 years into his big league career and he is hitting somewhere near his ceiling, there are not going to be a lot of players in his way. With the All-Star teams carrying 3 catchers, there are a lot of opportunities to sneak in on down years too.
@uublog: How well did the Phillies improve the farm system with this draft class? What would you have done differently?
I think they helped in the way that a draft helps a farm system, nothing really above and beyond like the 2016 draft. I will get to where Haseley ranks in a later question, but he is another top end prospect. Their next two picks probably slide in somewhere in their top 30 prospects, and maybe another 3-4 (depending on who they sign) will be in the 31-50 range for me. The farm system is deep enough that, outside of Haseley, this draft is not going to cause much farm system movement this season. If some of the later round picks take a step forward, we are likely to see that in 2018, in much the same way we are starting to see the impact of players like JoJo Romero and Cole Irvin from the 2016 draft now.
The Phillies 2nd and 3rd round picks were a little more conservative than I would have liked, though I am coming around on Spencer Howard the more I hear. I would have liked to have seen a high school arm with one of those picks, but I am also not seeing the signable arm that I am 100% sure they should have taken. Unlike some of the teams around them in the draft, I don’t think the Phillies are going to save much money on their 1st round pick, and that makes it difficult to go overslot for the high school player that would be exciting to fans. That was the price to take Haseley when he fell to them at 8.
@viscof1: Thoughts on where Hasley ranks in Phillies prospect list
@jonnyhellz: Obviously it’s early, but do you have an ETA on Haseley?
For those living under a rock this week (or actively avoiding the internet), the Phillies took Univesity of Virginia outfielder Adam Haseley with the 8th pick in the draft on Wednesday. I have written in a couple of places about why I like Hasely, but to some it up, he is a polished college outfielder with 5 tools that are at least average. He could move quickly, and I think there is a path for the Phillies to be aggressive enough to get him up late in 2018 if everything goes perfectly, but I think he is probably on a May-June 2019 timeline.
So where does he rank? I think Crawford, Alfaro, and Sanchez are locks to rank higher than him for me. I know the first two have struggled, but I still believe and I am not bailing right now. Sanchez might be one of the best pitching prospects in baseball. That leaves Hasely fighting for a spot with Moniak, Kingery, and maybe Williams, Brito, and Hoskins. I think Medina, Kilome, and Dominguez are on the outside of that discussion for right now, but all three could put themselves in it, as could Quinn. So he is somewhere better the 4th and 6th best prospect in the organization.
@pbraxmeier: Which of the hard to sign HS players the Phillies picked are most likely to be signed?
One more draft question. I think the Phillies are definitely going to sign their 11th round pick Jake Holmes. That is a relatively premium pick, because it is the first pick where you don’t have a penalty for not signing the player. My guess is overnight the Phillies figured out how much money they had, figured out what Holmes’ number was, and then made the pick. I think Drohan (23rd rd) and Hurt (34th rd) are completely unsignable unless something goes horribly wrong. I don’t know what it will take to sign Brian Morrell away from Notre Dame and Edouard Julien away from Auburn, but I assume the Phillies will need to save a good chunk somewhere to do it. I don’t have a feel for their 39th and 40th round picks. I think they should be able to get everyone else done, unless the players decide they want to be really attached to their college commitments.
@daanmal: Will Roman Quinn ever stay healthy? Every time we turn around, he seems to be hurt again.
Quinn has inherited whatever curse was afflicting Jesse Biddle all of those years. Quinn’s two most recent injuries are a concussion from an errant pickoff throw and a hurt elbow on a slide into third base. Neither are repeatable injuries. He did have an oblique injury last year, which is mildly more concerning, but not terribly so. I think we eventually see Quinn healthy by the end of this year, and we see him in the majors late in the year.
@vgp100: How do you feel about the Phillies coaches in terms of young player development?
I am undecided about Matt Stairs, because we just don’t have much to go on. He says all of the right things, and he clearly has a successful student in Aaron Altherr. I think Franco is showing fewer bad habits, but he is not hitting. The team can’t really hit right now, but is that because for the most part the talent sucks, or is it because he can’t get the best out of their talent?
I have not seen Bob McClure have a measurable positive impact on any pitcher in the major leagues. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, but it seems publicly his strategy is to wish for his players to do better.