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. 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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