Crash Bag Vol. 42 – It Might be a Little Late
I have promised this Crash Bag a few times now. So I will just post the answers now and stop delaying.
@mweintr: What are the chances the phillies go after Darvish this winter? 2 bad outings in WS? could get for a decent price tag?
I think the chances continue to be low. Given that Cueto and Tanaka have both opted into their contracts, the only two pitchers that could be described as front line starters are Darvish and Jake Arrieta. I think his World Series starts might make a few teams less all in on signing him, but I doubt it really affects his contract. The Phillies certainly have the money to sign Darvish, and unlike Arrieta, Lynn, and Cobb he won’t have any qualifying offer penalties attached. That should be attractive to the Phillies, but it should also be attractive to many teams. I just don’t get the feeling that the Phillies want to be the high bidder on either of the two big pitching contracts.
@g_linwood: @mlbtraderumors made some bold predictions for the Phillies: Tanaka and Chatwood, thoughts on this?
Since this question was asked, Tanaka opted into his contract with the Yankees. MLB Trade Rumors has the Phillies signing Tyler Chatwood for 3 years and $20M. Given the potential upgrade from going from Coors to not-Coors, $6-$7 million a year is not crazy for Chatwood. I don’t see the Phillies giving him that many years. Chatwood for 1-2 year with a team or mutual option makes sense in the Morton, Hellickson, Buchholz role, but I wouldn’t be running out to make it happen.
@MisterZoomer: Serious question: how would you compare the 2017 Phillies to the 2011 Astros?
The 2011 Astros went 56-106 and traded everything of value on their roster. By the end of the year they were one of the worst teams in baseball, both in record and on the field. Despite trade returns for Hunter Pence and Michal Bourn, their farm system was still not great and fairly shallow. The Astros would lose 107 and 111 games the next two years. I think the better comparison would be the 2014 Astros that went 70-92. Here is that roster.
- C Jason Castro
- 1B Jon Singleton
- 2B Jose Altuve
- SS Jonathan Villar
- 3B Matt Dominguez
- LF Robbie Grossman
- CF Dexter Fowler
- RF George Springer
- SP Dallas Keuchel/Scott Feldman/Colin McHugh/Brett Oberholtzer/Brad Peacock
The Astros would make the playoffs the next year (86-76) as Keuchel won the Cy Young, and Carlos Correa and Lance McCullers made the majors. The Phillies would need some amount of luck to replicate that performance, specifically in the middle of the rotation. But they have the offensive pieces to rival what the Astros had in 2015, and Aaron Nola could step into that ace level pitcher role. I don’t know if 86 makes the playoffs for the Phillies next year, but I do think with some upgrades here and there could allow the Phillies to hang around the wild card race.
@JoeLyonsII: In your opinion, what will happen to Freddy and Cesar this off-season? They have to be traded right?
The east part of all of this is that Freddy Galvis should be gone via trade. Galvis is a free agent after the season and with J.P. Crawford now in the majors, the Phillies have his replacement ready to go. Unlike Cesar Hernandez, there is not really a good argument to be made with Galvis that he could be a part of the Phillies future. I don’t know that the Phillies manage to get for him, but I suspect it to be fairly minor given his contract status and monetary cost. I know there is some thought of using him as a utility player, but with a cramped 40 man roster and prospects like Jesmuel Valentin that could fill that role, it is hard to see the Phillies keeping him around to sit on the bench.
The real question facing the Phillies is Hernandez and Scott Kingery. Cesar Hernandez is a good baseball player, and right now the Phillies have three more years of arbitration control on him. Scott Kingery is an exciting prospect. His power is below what he showed this year, and his plate discipline has been a bit loose at times, but he has a good hit tool, usable plus plus speed, and he is a great defender at second. The Phillies could try and temporarily solve the problem by hanging on to both and giving Kingery more time in AAA. Hernandez has shown that he can’t handle positions other than second, but Kingery might be able to fake to third or shortstop, and almost certainly could handle center or left field. This could prompt the Phillies to eventually use him as a super sub, or if Franco continues to not be the answer at third, their everyday third baseman. Ignoring his bat at the position, the idea of using Kingery at third is not an attractive one. His arm is average at best, and while he may be able to use his speed and instincts to have great range at the hot corner, he isn’t going to instantly be a high level defender like Crawford was. It would be a waste of a great defender to move him off of second base, and the Phillies know that. Ideally the Phillies are able to trade Cesar Hernandez for a player that fits their needs (3B or starting pitcher) or the prospects that allow them to fill that need. I think their next option is to try and using Kingery in a package that gets them an elite young player. I do think the Phillies value both players high enough that they aren’t going to move either without it being a clear win for them. Eventually, they will have to make some sort of decision, but they aren’t going to force it.
@KevinEZRQ: Kaplers biggest pro and con as new manager?
The biggest pro for Kapler is that he does not appear to be stuck in old time thoughts. He is open to data, not just for advanced singular metrics like WAR, but for the idea that the more information you have, the better you will do. He also seems to understand you can’t just throw data at players and hope they retain it, you have to meet them in a place where they can understand it. I think is focus on nutrition and player physical well-being is an aspect that is missing from money people in baseball. He also comes from a player development background, which should serve him well with a young roster. He came across a bit awkward in his press conference, and I think some of it is his personality, but I also think he did his research and while the references were forced, he knows how much the Phillies mean to the city.
The biggest con is the unknown. Kapler has not managed in the big leagues. There are some character concerns in that it appears he rubs some people the wrong way. Given that it is all second hand and there is certainly a selection bias in who will talk to reporters, it is hard to know how big of a problem it is. It does appear that while open to new ideas, Kapler is very opinionated and confident in those opinions. Tactically, we assume that he will be fairly forward thinking, but he also hasn’t had to deal with the impact of a tactical decision being smeared through the press after the game. The biggest danger of any managerial hire will be how they mesh in the clubhouse. Pete was pretty good there but he also had a tendency to have favorites and was not above publically throwing players under the bus.
@RobertDalton52: Any relief only prospects to watch? Not starters to be turned relievers. JD Hammer interests me cool name and glasses among good arm
- Jeff Singer (L) – Singer had some control issues in AA and he has a bit of a funky delivery. However, he gets into the mid 90s from the left side and his slider is a decent pitch.
- Austin Davis (L) – Davis is a big lefty with a fastball that touched 98 this year. He sits a bit lower than that, and he needs work on his secondary pitches. He took a big step forward this year after moving to the bullpen, and more importantly he stayed healthy.
- Luke Leftwich (R) – Leftwich is a converted starter who saw a tick up in velocity this year as a reliever. He doesn’t have big time stuff, but there might be middle relief upside here.
- J. D. Hammer (R) – Hammer saw his velocity increase with the Rockies before being traded to the Phillies. He his fastball can reach the mid to high 90s and his slider is interesting.
- Seth McGarry (R) – McGarry joined the Phillies in the Joaquin Benoit trade. He doesn’t have Hammer’s upside, but he has good velocity and heavy ground ball tendencies.
- Trevor Bettencourt (R) – Bettencourt is a short righty with a solid fastball and slider. He had a great year and could be a middle reliever.
- Tyler Gilbert (L) – Gilbert moved to the bullpen this year, and was good vs lefties this year and has some LOOGY upside.
- Alberto Tirado (R) – After failing as a starter again, Tirado moved back to the bullpen in the middle of the season. An arm injury hurt his stuff and Tirado was more 92-98 with his fastball, but was more below 96. His slider shows plus potential with two plane movement. He has a lot of control problems and struggled to locate any of his pitches. At his best, Tirado should be able to 96-98 touching 100 with a devastating slider, but he needs to improve his control and refind his stuff.
Below Clearwater, most of the relief only players are in small sample size transitions to pro-ball or are in the rotation still. If you want to know more about the prospects in the Williamsport bullpen, you should check out my interview with Mitch Rupert.
@MisterZoomer: Which Sixer would make the best baseball player. Please say Simmons.
On the hitter side at least it is not Ben Simmons. I think baseball and basketball might have the greatest difference in body types from each other. Any hitter over about 6’6”-6’7” is going to have an untenable strike zone. Any pitcher over that height is going have to trouble corralling all of their limbs into pinpoint control. Then you have things like long arms that are an asset on a basketball court, but not necessarily the best at the plate where being short and quick to the baseball can be a real advantage. With that said I think the best baseball player body on the Sixers as a hitter is probably Timothe Luwawu. Listed at 6’6” 200lbs and uber athletic he probably has some level of Aaron Altherr level late 2000s ultra-athletic outfielder with no baseball skills the Phillies loved. I will give Simmons the nod on the pitching mound. He might not need pump gas if he can use his body control and 6’10” frame to deliver the ball close to home plate. There aren’t many pitchers that tall, but at least it would be interesting to see.
@nmarmarou: The Phillies have acquired a bunch of Dodgers prospects over the years. Kapler oversaw those minor leaguers. How have they all planned out?
Kapler was hired by the Dodgers during the 2014 offseason, so we can throw out the Rollins trade and focus on everything since then, which is really just the Utley and Ruiz trades. Both members of the Utley trade John Richy and Darnell Sweeney are out of the organization after regressing. Sweeney got half of Howie Kendrick, so that is kind of decent. For Ruiz the Phillies got Tommy Bergjans and Joey Curletta. Curletta was immediately shipped out for Pat Venditte who had a better year than Curletta. Bergjans is a back end AAA starter/middle reliever. I doubt he ever sees the majors. In other words, we don’t really have a lot to go on here and players who weren’t big time talents to begin with.
@SAKrawczyk: Where do you see Jhailyn Ortiz fitting in? I know its years before we see him, but OF seems a bit full, and he won’t overtake Hoskins at 1b
If Jhailyn Ortiz hits his ceiling, there is no corner outfielder in the system that will be in his way. I think ideally he is in right field because of his arm strength, but I could see him moving to left if there is a better arm in right. I don’t know if he will overtake Hoskins at 1B, but he has better raw tools than Hoskins. Ortiz could also be a trade chip at some point, or he could just utterly bust.
@SAKrawczykI assume Sixto will start in Clearwater, but is it nuts to think he could end up in Reading this season?
Not at all. I could see him on a similar plan to this year where he is on some sort of innings limit early (though probably not as aggressive as this year) and then bumped up a level in the middle of the season to keep the challenges coming. I don’t think it is out of the question that he could be up at some point in 2019 if things go well and the Phillies need that level of arm in the majors. He is absolutely a special talent and to this point as surpassed all challenges put in front of him.