Crashbag Vol. 34: Future Edition

This week I asked for questions during a Phillies game which meant everything was Phillies related, and much of it was not particularly deep, I just answered everything.

@andrewrinnier: What are realistic goals for the young guys down the stretch?

Just going to go quick bullet points on the major guys

  • Jerad Eickhoff – 6 innings each start, try to keep it under 4 runs
  • Ben Lively/Mark Leiter – Hold off regression while trying to find a sustainable pitch
  • Aaron Nola – Stay healthy
  • Nick Pivetta – 4-5 solid innings each start, it doesn’t matter if you implode in the 5th or 6th
  • Jorge Alfaro – Just 1 walk, maybe 2 walks?
  • Maikel Franco – Just show in one game that you learned something this year
  • Rhys Hoskins – Fight through the first slump when it hits
  • Nick Williams – Just keep up the approach gains
  • J.P. Crawford – Don’t force things in majors or minors
  • Scott Kingery – Try and bring the strikeouts under control and walk a bit more
  • Odubel Herrera – Have a solid end of year
  • Aaron Altherr – Get healthy, stay healthy
  • Andrew Knapp – Show enough defensive growth to have the Phillies trust you to be the opening day starter and pair with Alfaro next year

@kai_tremoglie: Any potential targets in free agency?
@Kiltyelon: Realistic offseason veteran gambles like Kendrick/Saunders/Buck?
@babsell_champ: Wishlist for starters that might be available this offseason in a trade? I like Danny Duffy!

Let’s just get all of these together since they blend. If I am the Phillies I am targeting pitching in trades and free agency. On the hitting side a lottery pick shaking loose at third or outfield (as a 4th OF type) would be nice, but not needed.

  • Lance Lynn (FA) – He is realistically a #3/#4, but he is about to put up his 5th year of 175+ IP with the only interruption Tommy John surgery in 2016.
  • Marco Estrada (FA) – HIS ERA is up this year, but he is coming off two good years, he would be a fine stop gap guy.
  • Neil Walker (FA) – Switch hitter who is better vs RHPs. Could platoon with Franco and be a 2B stopgap if Cesar is traded and they want to wait on Kingery. An incentive laden 1 year deal with an team/mutual option might get it done.
  • Carlos Gonzalez (FA) – I am fine being his pillow deal, but he might be done.
  • Bryan Shaw (FA) – He has been good for a bunch of years, if he will take a one year deal I am in, but he probably won’t.
  • Kevin Gausman (BAL) – There is a chance Baltimore still wants a ransom, but if he can be had it would be like doubling the Vince Velasquez lottery ticket.
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) – He has one more year on his deal and looks to be mostly healthy, the Dodgers have a ton of pitching depth and are likely to buy more, it would be interesting if Ryu is the odd man out.
  • J.A. Happ (TOR) – Another lefty on an expiring deal. He has been could for Toronto, but will be 35 and coming off some injuries. This one depends on the price.
  • Michael Wacha (STL) – Another #3/#4 starter type with a bit more upside if he can build a bit on this year. He still is under control for two more years and I don’t think the Cardinals are selling.

I do like the Duffy idea if the Royals take a stick of dynamite to the thing.

@vgp100: Do we deserve Rhys Hoskins?

My first instinct was no, but we have had so many Reading mirages it is nice for one of them to be real.

@JakeFayette: Excluding Sixto which SP prospect is the most exciting? And can Kingery’s bat play at 3rd? Is the power surge legit?

I am going to go with Seranthony Dominguez because of his pure power arsenal. Dominguez is starting to find his control after an injury, but he sits mostly 95-97 and can touch 98-99 with his fastball. His slider is a plus pitch and his changeup will flash that potential as well. He is a bit on the smaller side and his bouts of control issues are going to get him the “future reliever” tag. Adonis Medina is probably the better prospect, but has less wow stuff than Dominguez, but more polish. Franklyn Kilome is the closest to the majors, but his control issues and lack of usable changeup make him a bit more risky.

I think it is close if Kingery’s bat can play at 3B, but it is irrelevant because I don’t think his arm works there long term. I think the power surge is partially real. He should be a guy who can hit 16-20 home runs a year, maybe a bit more, but not the surge he had this year.

@PompeyMalus: Should the Phillies consider buying a rotation to compete in 2018/19?

Depends. I wouldn’t force a buy in FA or trade, but I would look to be opportunistic. Even if you want to lock in Nola and Eickhoff, with Velasquez giving another chance, they still need 1-2 starters depending on how much you want to rely on the Pivetta/Lively/Leiter/Thompson/Eshelman group. I would be targeting a 2018 rental or a piece that helps 2019 to 2021.

@DashTreyhorn: What is the Opening Day lineup (realistically) right now? What is the lineup on June 1 (realistically)?

I suspect service time fuckery, so let’s go.

  • CF Herrera
  • SS Crawford
  • RF Altherr
  • 1B Hoskins
  • LF Williams
  • C Knapp
  • 3B Franco
  • 2B Valentin

June 1:

  • 2B Kingery
  • SS Crawford
  • CF Herrera
  • 1B Hoskins
  • LF Williams
  • RF Altherr
  • C Alfaro
  • 3B Franco

@theotherguysmom: Is there a 3B the phillies could target this offseason via trade or FA?

Moustakas is the name in FA, but I don’t like committing to him. A player I would at least explore in trade talk is the Reds’ Eugenio Suarez. Suarez is putting up a career year with a .270/.382/.499 line. He is a good defender at third and has three years of arb control left. The Reds may be motivated to move him because of Nick Senzel.

@MEnnising: Does the emergence of young hitters move the future FA $ away from Harper/Machado and towards ALL THE PITCHERS

I still don’t see the big pitchers to hit FA in the next few years to push all in on that won’t be old and risky. I think the pitching is likely to come through trades. On Harper/Machado, if you can convince one of those players to sign with your team you do it.

@PompeyMalus: When can we expect the next mid-to-top rotation SP MLB debut?

An aggressive timeline for Franklyn Kilome is 2018, but more likely 2019 is the opening of the window for Seranthony Dominguez, Adonis Medina, and Sixto Sanchez.

@cfrankievich: Biggest breakout star this year from AA and below this season? What changed?

The answer is Sixto Sanchez, but his story has been written a ton. I will go with Seranthony Dominguez who is still coming back from injury, but went from a guy sitting 92-95 T96 to a guy sitting 95-97 T98-99. His ceiling has gone up a grade and from being pretty good to potentially an elite level arm.

@Wet_Luzinski: What’s not to like about Jhailyn Ortiz? Plot the course for him…

You can still get him out with offspeed pitches away. I think he opens in Lakewood, and gets a late call to Clearwater in 2018. He then starts 2019 in Clearwater and ends in Reading. That puts him on pace for a late 2020 or early 2021 call up.

@Bridoc10: What’s wrong with Mickey Moniak?

His hit tool isn’t as advertised. His swing is still good and it is the only thing keeping him afloat right now. He just hasn’t adjusted to professional level offspeed pitching and it has only gotten worse over the course of the year. He is also now wearing down and that has only exacerbated the problem.

@Wet_Luzinski: What’s to become of Roman Quinn?

I think he is going to start his major league time as a 4th outfielder who gets plenty of playing time. Aaron Altherr has had leg injuries, and Nick Williams and Odubel Herrera would not be hurt by strategic time off vs LHPs. That all gives opportunities for Quinn to start. Beyond that he is a late game weapon off the bench for his bat and speed. If he can stay healthy and hit in that kind of role I could see him becoming a trade asset or forcing himself into more playing time.

@heis27: Any chance Roman Quinn will be alive to get called up in September and end the Kim facade?

Small chance, according a Phoulballz interview with Joe Jordan Roman Quinn is starting to ramp up baseball activities. I think the bigger hope to end Kim’s time in the majors is Altherr and Herrera returning from injury.

@LONG_DRIVE: If Nick Williams continues to walk at this clip does that change his floor/ceiling from where you had him when we was called up?

It raises the floor more than it raises the ceiling. Nick is walking more, but he is also not walking at an elite rate. The big advantage of build an approach and walking more for Nick is that it flattens out some of the ups and downs. He can be a streaky hitter, especially as someone who relies on quality of contact to drive his value, but if he can generate some level of value when the hits aren’t falling it should keep his value from totally cratering.

@KeithWinder: More encouraging. Hoskins start or Williams walks?

Williams’ walks, because they are a new skill. Hoskins has translated a lot of his minor league abilities to the majors in a very small sample size and has been impressive, but Williams drawing walks might be what keeps him in the majors.

@Kiltyelon: Can you believe the cash the Phils have invested in Buck, Morton & Hellickson and have just an intl slot to show?

Yes. They also got a lot of needed innings out of Hellickson, which had a ton of value. You can’t single out those guys without accounting for the returns for Howie Kendrick and Pat Neshek. If any of these players were sure things to get big returns you wouldn’t be able to buy them for cheap (essentially just prospects).

@anaphoristand: Aside from sub-optimal BB/K, what’s the word on Pelletier?

He has the physical tools of a prototype corner outfielder, but he lacks consistency. Sometimes a guy like that steps forward and becomes a Domingo Santana type player, other times they flame out like Jose Pujols. So there is plenty to like, but a lot to be concerned about.

@dannmall: Is there room on the 25-man next year for Rupp, Knapp and Alfaro? If not, who goes? Knapp/Alfaro have less than 1 year experience combined.

I don’t really think so, but given that Alfaro and Knapp can play 1B and theoretically Alfaro can play LF/RF, there might be some chance. If they don’t go 3 catchers I think Rupp is the odd man out because Alfaro can’t be sent down and I don’t see them cutting or demoting Andrew Knapp.

@andrewrinnier: Assuming Rupp is DFA and given that Alfaro/Knapp can get at-bats at 1B, does it make sense to sign an AJ Ellis type and carry 3 catchers?

I think they are more likely to just hang on to Rupp if they are going to go 3 catchers, but I could see them bringing in extra help in the spring to help out with the young catchers.

@Wet_Luzinski: Also:  Why is it that when the Phillies have a rookie sensation, there always seems to be a bigger sensation in New York?

Bad luck combined with everything being bigger in New York. It takes something truly historic to get a Phillies player in the national spotlight.

@KeithWinder: % chance Phils have Hernandez, Kingery, and Crawford on MLB 25 man in June 2018?

0%. I see one SS and 2 2Bs and only two places to play them.

@nfimbulvetr: how do you feel about Crawford at 3B and Kingery at SS, presumably to keep Cesar at ML 2B for the forseeable future?

Having Crawford play third is a waste of his defensive skills and I don’t think Kingery can play SS for any prolonged period of time. If you are going to force those three into the infield I would put Crawford at SS and Kingery at 3B so you take the defensive hit at 3B and not SS.

@Jeff_Dewees: So, this trying stuff defensively. Who’s not back from TJ, Cesar, Maik and Fred next year?

I think Galvis and Cesar are gone in trade. I don’t think they get a trade for Franco that they like.

@andrewrinnier: Given his success with the young guys, does dusty wathan deserve a spot on the Phils coaching staff?

It is hard to judge minor league managers, but it sure feels like the Phillies are trying to keep Wathan around the org, and from AAA the only place is up.

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  1. ASK

    August 26, 2017 07:50 AM

    “Jorge Alfaro – Just 1 walk, maybe 2 walks?”


  2. Mike Fassano

    August 26, 2017 10:21 AM

    Henderson Alvarez took his lumps last night, but I pretty much expected that. He will probably get one more start for Lehigh this year. Should the Phillies bring him up in September and let him get a few more starts? If not, are there any plans for him to pitch Winter ball? I realize that he’s a longshot, but I’m excited at the possibilities.

    • Romus

      August 26, 2017 01:04 PM

      MikeFassano….I think that would be their eventual intention with that signing. That is, an audition in September to see if he has recaptured anything from prior to 2015. However, it has been 25 months now since the shoulder surgery, and that is a tough one to come back from. He was , in the past, a 94-95 guy, but little swing and miss, probably one reason, because of his height and thus lack of downward plane, but his command was excellent.
      Will that return? If it does, it would be a great shot in the arm for Matt Klentak and the Phillies if he can come back from that shoulder injury.

      • Mike Fassano

        August 26, 2017 01:52 PM

        I know how picky the Phillies are about the 40 man roster, and they would have to add him in Sept. Maybe they’ll trade Nava or cut Kim to make room. I heard that he was hitting 98mph when the Phillies signed him. Regardless, I still want another pitcher over the Winter.

  3. Tommy

    August 27, 2017 03:14 PM

    Of the Phillies fringe-y young starters (Elfin, Lively, Pivetta, Leiter, Thompson), do any have the stuff to convert nicely into a late inning reliever?

    • Mike Fassano

      August 27, 2017 07:30 PM

      None of them has a deadly “out pitch” like a slider or splitter. Pivetta probably has the best fastball, and it may gain a tick or two with a bullpen move, but his problem has been location.

  4. Bill N.

    August 29, 2017 09:24 AM

    Nothing important to add. Just wanted to say, before the end of the season, this site is fantastic. Thanks a ton.

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