Crash Bag Vol. 26: Bobbles, Bullpens, and Long Lost Friends

This is my first Crash Bag, and what an honor it is! On to our ambivalent adoring readers’ questions:

@mjspv: Only 3 bobblehead giveaways on the schedule: Phanatic (bobblebody), Rose, and Schmidt. Who will be the next bobble-worthy player? #crashbag

At first, I thought this might be a difficult question to answer. But when I looked at the 2016 promotional calendar, I saw that there was a Maikel Franco bobblehead given away in June last season (although it looked nothing like Maik). Franco played bobble-worthily at the end of 2015, but right now he’s not even worth a fake Phanatic bobblebody they’re giving away this year, let alone a real one.

*I should note that in my cubicle I have a real actual Phillie Phanatic bobblehead that I purchased in a store like a true blue-blooded American capitalist.

In 2016, they also gave away a Star Wars themed Phanatic bobblehead, a “Phanatic Variant Bobblehead”, and most confoundingly of all, a bobblehead of the Phanatic’s mom knitting. Now I’m all for Phillie Phanatic bobble heads – nobody loves the Phanatic more than me – but three bobbles in one year is far too many. Let’s limit this to one every two years, Phillies.

In 2015, they gave away a weird retro bobblehead, and a Larry Bowa bobblehead. In 2014, we got bobbles of Chase Utley, Roy Halladay, and Ryan Howard, which seems entirely reasonable. It seems like the Phillies go with stars, old fan favorites, or variants on the Phanatic. So, while Maikel Franco has clearly already gotten a bobble, I’d argue that the bobble was not earned, and he is not a Bobble-WorthyTM player.

So who is the next Bobble-WorthyTM Phillie? I’ll make up the arbitrary criteria that you have to be an above-average player for several years in a row. If Odubel Herrera can turn his season around and put up another 4 WAR campaign, I think he deserves a bobble next season.  Entering the season, Herrera was 67% bobble worthy. If we generously say that he has a 1-in-4 chance of going on a tear and pulling out a 4 win season, that makes him (67% + 1/4*33% = ) 75% Bobble-WorthyTM.

If Herrera can’t pull it out, we may be waiting a while. Here is a list of current Phillies, arranged by Bobble-WorthinessTM:

Odubel Herrera – 75% Bobble-WorthyTM

Jerad Eickhoff – 50% Bobble-WorthyTM – The Phillies most consistent pitcher over the past three years. Not All-Star caliber but he’s still the bobbliest we’ve got.

Aaron Nola – 38% Bobble-WorthyTM – Not currently very Bobble-WorthyTM, but if he stays healthy for a full season, he could put up the kind of Cy Young-caliber numbers that make a player immediately Bobble-WorthyTM.

Cesar Hernandez – 33% Bobble-WorthyTM – He’s had one 4 win season. Stack on a couple more, and you’ll be bobblin’ till the cows come home.

Freddy Galvis – 20% Bobble-WorthyTM – His talent is below replacement bobble, but he is the longest tenured Phillie, and that’s got to be worth something.

Everyone else on the Phillies is Bobble-UnworthyTM.

Now that I’ve spent a totally reasonable amount of time answering this important question, let’s move on.

@stee_jobs: Does Maikel Franco suck? I think he does, but can’t tell

Well, I’ll tell you one thing: Maikel Franco has sucked this season. His batting line is 30% worse than league average, and while his defense is better than I thought it might be when he got to the majors, that’s damning with faint praise. As we all know, he’s shown that he is capable of not sucking when he pounded baseballs to smithereens in the minors and his first season in the majors. And while he may still fulfill some of the lofty promise he’s shown, I think it’s fair to say at this point Franco sucks at baseball, as least in relation to other MLB baseball players.

But he may not suck at other things. For instance, his footwork at third base is pretty good; perhaps he’s a good dancer. Without any proof, I’d bet that he’s also really good at eating sunflower seeds in that difficult way where you throw a crap-ton of them in your mouth at the same time and somehow only spit out shells. Based on this picture, he looks like he’s good at dodgeball, again relative to the competition. I don’t really have any reason to include this, but I found this picture of him and Jahlil Okafor while perusing his Twitter account, and I thought it was funny.

Anyways, baseball… yeah, he kinda sucks.

@ChrisAntosy: How ‘bout this. Using just current players employed by the Phillies, build the best team

Because presumably this answer would essentially just be “the current Philadelphia Phillies,” I’ll just tell ya what I would change about the roster:

  1. Call up Williams, and play him every day.
  2. Call up Kingery, and play him until Cesar Hernandez comes back from injury. I know he’s not on the 40 man roster, but let’s ignore that for this exercise.
  3. Install the Phillie Phanatic as your every day third baseman. He’d probably be about as good at hitting as Franco, and with his ATV, he could get around the bases much faster. Actually, might make a good outfielder if Williams, Altherr, and Herrera weren’t already holding down those spots.
  4. Give Tom Eshelman a shot until Eickhoff or Velasquez returns from injury. Again, he’s not on the 40-man, but as I’ve already established, I’m not bounded by the nuances of reality.
  5. Install pitching machine as our long man out of the ‘pen. A pitching machine can throw strikes and go multiple innings, but may be a defensive liability.

Follow those five simple steps, and you’ll have the .500 team Pete Mackanin thought he was getting in the beginning of the season. I’ve saved the season!

@PaulSocolar: Is there any rational logic to keeping Adam Morgan around (eg, velocity uptick), or do we just literally not have anyone else?

Paul, have you taken a look at the Phillies 40-man roster lately? Here is a list of the left-handed relief pitchers:

  1. Hoby Milner
  2. Adam Morgan

Here also is a list of left handed relief pitchers at Triple-A:

  1. Cesar Ramos – 33 years old, 16.4% K%, 6.61 FIP/6.04 ERA in the majors last year
  2. Pat Venditte (switch) – Has done quite well against lefties in 23 career innings: 30.8% K%, 7.7% BB% 3.31 FIP.

And the list at Double-A:

Tom Windle – 6.50 ERA/5.02 FIP

Austin Davis – has only thrown 26 innings above High-A, though they’ve been good ones

Joey DeNato – has gotten good results, but again only 30 innings above High-A and with a BB% over 15%.

So outside of possibly promoting Venditte, there’s not really much for the Phillies to go on as far as left-handed relievers within their system. I won’t comment on players outside the organization, because I don’t really know.

But to your point about velocity, Morgan’s velocity is up about 3 mph over last year and 4.5 mph over 2015. He has experienced a velocity jump, as a result of moving to the bullpen, and he’s got the highest K% of his career. He’s been killed by home runs, as you can see by his 35% HR/FB% and his respectable 3.79 xFIP. I think the Phillies want to give him a chance to figure it out.

Pat Schickling: I haven’t watched the Phillies in 4 years…  Sup?

Oh hi, Pat! We, uhh…, we weren’t expecting you. *sweating* The last four years have been … great.

*Looks at the Phillies league leading loss total over the past four years* Since you last joined us, there are some things we’ve done more than any other team in baseball!

Remember Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Carlos Ruiz? We’ll we’ve got JP Crawford, Cesar Hernandez, and Jorge Alfaro. Yeah, Crawford and Alfaro haven’t really played in the majors yet, and Cesar is hurt, but umm, they might be just as good! Yeah, that whole Dom Brown thing didn’t quite work out.

But remember Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels? Well we have Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff now, and they’re certainly pitchers.

Okay, so we’re in something of a down year, but the Phillies manager… no, not Charlie Manuel; Ol’ Petey said he thinks we can be a .500 team.

*Breaks down in tears*

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  1. Phil Ease

    July 01, 2017 04:22 PM

    What a great first Crash Bag!

  2. Steve in Philly

    July 09, 2017 12:06 AM

    The Schmitty (Schmidty?) bobblehead tonight was cool, athough it wasn’t exactly a dead ringer for him. I appreciate the effort in their replicating his fist-pumping. Also, I was pleased they did not do a home uniform variant, considering he hit his 500th HR on the road. They did do a gold variant, but I can live without that. The best one this year was the Luzinski bobble that was only available (AFAIK) at the ALS festival in May, although the Pete Rose one available next month will probably be a good one too. The team presumably ordered 45,000 Schmidt bobbles (of whoch maybe 30,000 were claimed tonight). There can’t be more than a few thousand Luzinskis considering the event. Of course, lower demand and lower supply = similar value. So this year’s bobbles are Phanatic, Luzinski, Schmidt and Rose. What does that say about this year’s team???

    BTW, I had The Bull sign his tonight. If you are reading this and want to do the same, don’t let him sign it on the helmet (his suggestion). It just looks weird there. Have him sign the base of it instead…..

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