Crash Bag Vol. 30: The Next Great Phillies Team

Late last week, there was word from the front office that the Crash Bag was involved in a potential trade, and so it was pulled from its regularly scheduled appearance on Friday. But the buyers backed out at the last minute to pursue a less costly upgrade. Consider this post safe for now. Although there are still a few hours before the deadline.

joelrineer: If you had to pick 3 of Altherr, Herrera, Quinn, Williams, Cozens, Tocci, Randolph, Moniak, Haseley who would you take and why?

I take the two birds in hand. Herrera and Altherr are both good players, and it would not shock me to see either post a 5+ WAR season at some point in the future. The Phillies need good position player talent and these two fit that description. It would take a clear cut superstar to supplant either one and I don’t see that among the rest of the players listed.

As to those players and the coveted third spot, here is what we are considering.

Nick Williams clearly has talent. He hits a lot of line drives and he hits them really hard. But there’s a 47% swing rate on pitches outside of the strike zone. There’s also a 68% contact rate. Both numbers would be bottom ten among qualified hitters. So far he’s been able to overcome these shortcomings by the damage he does on contact. And that contact is impressive.ย I’m not sold on Williams. But there’s a top tier bat here if he can show a little discipline at the plate.

Carlos Tocci at max capacity is a league average hitter that plays very good defense in center field. That’s basically Ender Inciarte. It’s a good player but with limited upside on offense due to the utter lack of power. As a ceiling it’s not the most enticing, and Tocci still has to get there first. The more likely outcome is he ends up as a fourth or fifth outfielder who pinch runs and comes in as a defensive replacement in the late innings.

Roman Quinn has the kind of insane speed that makes every play in which he’s involved exciting. He also has a body as sturdy as the popsicle stick tower you made in third grade. In his brief stint with the Phillies last year he showed off an eagle eye at the plate with a 19.7% O-Swing rate. And his BABIP will run above average due to the crazy speed. But it’s not the offense needed to dethrone Odubel atop the center field depth chart. I also prefer not to wince in fear of a pulled hamstring every time our center fielder busts it down the first base line.

Dylan Cozens is to power what Roman Quinn is to speed. And from one anecdotal account, he’s also the bully that smashed your popsicle stick tower to the ground because it was bigger than his. The idea of catching a home run ball while standing in Ashburn Alley is compelling. But Cozens big-time power is matched by a big-time 34% K rate at Lehigh Valley, and I’m just not partial to the high strikeout profile.

The top ten draft pick trio of Randolph, Moniak, and Haseley all carry the standout tool of pedigree. And the Phillies might end up with a very good player or two out of the trio. Moniak and Haseley both have the hit tool and athleticism to feel like safe bets. But the combination of being years away and not yet standing out as elite talents on the baseball field is the slight knock on this group.

That’s a tremendous amount of outfield depth in the system. But already having two good major league outfielders under team control for the next few years, I’m inclined to take the flier on Nick Williams and his high upside bat. There’s a huge payoff if he figures it out. And if he doesn’t, you’re only left with one outfield hole to fill in the offseason.

cfrankievich: With Franco having a tough year and little depth at 3rd, should the Phillies make a move to fill some support in that role?

It’s always good to have depth. But I wouldn’t force it. Pursuing a mediocre talent as a fallback plan at third base is not the best use of resources, because it wouldn’t be much of an upgrade over what Franco is right now. And if you’re willing to pay the price for a higher end talent at the position, that’s essentially saying you’ve already given up on him.

The Phillies should ride it out with Franco until they’re convinced he’s not good. If that time comes and no in-house option has emerged, then you can go outside the organization to upgrade.

giddeup83: I keep hearing people talk about the next great Phillies team. Is this a real thing, or is it just a myth like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster?

Whenever I hear someone reference the next great Phillies team, it’s always in the context of some distant future where twenty-five players simultaneously emerge from the farm system and become instant World Series favorites.

Some are so consumed with this idea that they want to trade away all the good players on the current team to make it happen. The ink wasn’t even dry on Odubel’s contract extension before these people were salivating over the return in the Adam Eaton trade. And just think about the prospects Aaron Nola would bring into the system.

This next great Phillies team is a myth.

But the next competitive team is not that far off. The Phillies have two good major league outfielders in Herrera and Altherr. They have a long line of prospects to pull from for that final corner spot. There’s a solid middle infield between Galvis, Hernandez, Crawford, and Kingery. Hoskins has yet to stop hitting. Nola is pitching like an ace.

They have the money to dip into free agency and the prospect depth to explore the trade market.

The current record might not tell this story, but they’re on the right track.


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  1. Romus

    July 31, 2017 10:26 AM

    As for Franco’s eventual competitor or replacement, appears right now down the road in 3/4 years, and in short-season ball, Cole Stobbe would be the one the Phillies are targeting .
    Mitch Walding can handle the defensive side of third base, but I my guess his bat would have question marks at the MLB level.

  2. Jim Shorts

    July 31, 2017 12:06 PM

    Trade Odubel. He is under control on a team friendly contract and should net a nice haul. Preferably a trade in an attempt to band aid some of system’s organizational deficiencies (catcher, 3b).

    As yourself – would you trust him in the playoffs if/when they get back there? Streakiness, lack of judgement (running through signals), indifference to it all, bat flips, etc.

    • Jim Shorts

      July 31, 2017 12:17 PM

      * ask yourself

      • denzen

        July 31, 2017 03:57 PM

        As yourself….who else could we be.? haha

    • Bill G

      July 31, 2017 12:40 PM

      I don’t want to kick the can down the road any further, and I don’t think he’s indifferent. I think he’s 25. Streakiness is part of the deal with younger players, and I REALLY don’t care about bat flips.

      He’s the best field player we have (when including defense), and I think he can be a centerpiece of a good team. A core of Herrera, Crawford, Altherr, Williams, Hernandez, Nola and (pick one or more if you’re so inclined) Pivetta/Lively/Eickhoff/Thompson seems like a good start.

      • Romus

        July 31, 2017 03:26 PM

        Clean-up hitter has to be Hoskins.
        A minor league slash of .286/.374 /.525 in 1900 PAs with a K rate of 18%, BB-11%, a wRC+ of over 150, and an ISO of over .250 for his entire minor league career has me believing this guy will be a special hitter at the next level. Hope I am not wrong in that regards.

    • Michael C Lorah

      August 01, 2017 07:45 AM

      “Ask yourself โ€“ would you trust him in the playoffs if/when they get back there? Streakiness, lack of judgement (running through signals), indifference to it all, bat flips, etc.”

      Yes. Yes, I completely trust him. His mistakes have been frustrating, but he runs down everything in the outfield. If we’re going to rave over Galvis’s defense, let’s not overlook that Herrera’s numbers are twice as good. (Actually, per baseball-reference, way better than twice as good. B-R has Galvis at -3 DRS and Herrera at 6 DRS.) Even with the coldest stretch possible in May, he’s still producing league-average offense (102 OPS+) with a career-high slugging percentage (all those doubles!), and his average and on-base have only been trending up since the start of June.

      I’ve never seen indifference in him. If anything, he seems to care too much. The losing seems to exhaust his patience and attention at times. When things go well for this team, he’s always at the center of the good stuff.

      • Romus

        August 01, 2017 08:51 AM

        And with all that being said…..he is also on one of the most favorable contracts a player at his age and career WAR has accumulated to date (approx $6M AAV), the big money does not kick in until 2021 ($10M), and it has CLUB options for 2022/2023.
        This is definitely a great team friendly contract for the value of the player.

      • rlh1004

        August 01, 2017 11:14 AM

        Fully agree. Trading Herrera would be a step backward in the rebuild in my opinion. Why trade a known above-average major league asset for prospects?

        The only trade for Herrera that I could stomach would be for a front-line starter, which you wouldn’t be able to get in return anyway. And that would only be if you could be very confident that one of our CF prospects can succeed at the major league level.

        I just don’t see how it benefits the Phillies at this point…

        And, seriously, are we still talking about bat flips as some kind of negative statistic?

      • Steve

        August 01, 2017 12:40 PM

        Im not sure that hes a front line starter, but Sonny Gray would be at least SP2 on this team and a solid 3 on any team. I know the Phillies arent “buyers” but after looking at how little talent the Yankees gave up for him, im a little disapointed we didnt make an offer. Hes young, and has a few more years of control.

      • Romus

        August 01, 2017 01:32 PM

        Steve…. Gray’s record vs teams .500 or better is very average or maybe a little below for a TOR/#2 pitcher..
        His line vs them……..272/.337/.386…BABIP-.351…WHIP-1.5….ERA-4.86
        And he was traded for playoff baseball.

  3. Bill

    July 31, 2017 12:13 PM

    How about JP Crawford at third? He will never be the ss thatFreddy Galvis, but it looks like he has some real power. Freddy’s defense and improved hitting should not be discounted.

    • Bill G

      July 31, 2017 12:36 PM

      Freddy’s defense makes him an excellent utility man candidate, but he’s still a below-average hitter (92 OPS+ this year, 78 last year even while hitting 20 HR’s). He doesn’t drive in runs and isn’t much of a threat on the bases. I’ve made this comparison in reverse, but Freddy Galvis is the Robert Covington of the Phillies. He’ll give you great defense, but not much else.

    • Jim Shorts

      July 31, 2017 12:52 PM

      not sure jp can play third. does anyone know if they were giving him reps there like they were w/ kingery?

      if jp can play 3rd, what do you do w/ franco? not great timing to maximize trade value for him.

      another concerning thing is crawford isn’t exactly tearing up aaa. i don’t consider him a sure bet. all the ratings agencies dropped him significantly at mid-season, for what it’s worth.

      • Chris S

        July 31, 2017 05:11 PM

        Crawford has been much better the last month and a half. His approach at the plate has remained the same despite his struggles which an incredible feat for a 22 year old. His BABIP is a bit low at .254 it should be somewhere in the .290-.310 range. Some better luck and his numbers look significantly better.

  4. Kurdt Kobeyn

    July 31, 2017 01:00 PM

    The Phils just need to wait 1 more year to get their future 3B – Manny Machado

    • Romus

      July 31, 2017 03:33 PM

      Putting my chips on the table, and say it is 12/13/17.

      • Chris S

        July 31, 2017 05:07 PM

        Last day of Winter Meetings seems like the right day to me. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Romus

        July 31, 2017 05:23 PM

        Last day is 12/14 with the Rule 5 at 9AM, and everybody comes to the draft conference room with their bags already packed , checked out and ready to get off to the airport and their homes before 1030AM…most trades though are accomplished a day or two before hand

      • Chris S

        July 31, 2017 05:48 PM

        Since you got all technical on me Romus I’ll re-phrase that and say the last FULL day seems like the right day to me. ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Romus

        August 01, 2017 01:33 PM

        Steve…. Gray’s record vs teams .500 or better is very average or maybe a little below for a TOR/#2 pitcher..
        His line vs them……..272/.337/.386…BABIP-.351…WHIP-1.5….ERA-4.86
        And he was traded for playoff baseball.

      • Romus

        August 01, 2017 01:34 PM

        Chris….you are correct, last full day.

  5. Mike Fassano

    August 02, 2017 07:35 PM

    #1 – My three outfielders would be Herrera, Altherr, and Quinn. The Phillies sending Quinn down “To see if he can stay healthy” is a stupid concept. He made the team last Spring, but we had 2 Professional hitters who were given the job before they even put a uniform on. BTW Quinn was Healthier than Kendrick.
    #2 – I keep hearing how there is no other plausible third baseman behind Franco. Why not Jhailyn Ortiz? He’s very young, has at least 2 full seasons in the minors (Plus winter ball), and seems athletic enough to handle it. He’ll never be a Gold Glove player, but he’ll be good enough to make the routine plays.
    #3 – Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster are not myths, and neither is the next great Phillies Team. I expect them to be good in 2018, very good in 2019, and great in 2020.

  6. Cutter McCool

    August 03, 2017 01:47 AM

    How quickly people forget history. The Phillies are capable of fielding a great team only about once a decade. Given they’re the losingest franchise in all sports, their fans might reconsider themselves lucky that this solar eclipse happens that often. There was the WS team of 1980, the magical team of 93, and the WS team of 08. The later stayed good until 2012, using up the teams allowance for this decade. Therefore, by mathematical fiat, they must continue to suck until well into the 2020s. Sometime that decade they should make a playoff run.

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