Crash Bag Vol. 43: Missing Doc

We lost a legend this week. As I’m sure you’re aware, Roy Halladay, the greatest pitcher I’ve ever seen, died in a plane crash on Tuesday. He was only 40. And while the baseball world mourns his death, including here at the site, it’s important to remember that, even as we lost Doc, his children and his wife lost Dad. For us, the loss is still personal; he was our idol, our hero, but we saw him from afar. So let’s remember the Halladay family and keep them in your thoughts, as they’re living a nightmare.

It would be fitting to memorialize Doc here with statistics, to definitively show that he’s the best pitcher of his generation and one of the greatest ever, but you already know that. So in the spirit of the Crash Bag, I’m going to share a personal story about Doc.

The Phillies traded for Halladay before the 2010 season, after several dalliances with the Toronto front office. Partway through the 2010 season, the Phillies traded for Roy Oswalt. Then after the 2010 season, we signed Cliff Lee to complete possibly the greatest rotation in baseball history. The Four Aces, as it were.

My friends and I were overjoyed to have the best rotation in the league, and were older than 18 but younger than 21, so naturally we planned a road trip to Toronto for the 4th of July (also the same weekend as Canada Day north of the border). The Phillies would be playing the Blue Jays in a weekend series, with Kyle Kendrick (lol), Halladay, and Cliff Lee starting the three games.

I don’t know what I expected to happen at that game. Halladay had all but forced his way out of town due to the general lousiness of the Blue Jays over the preceding decade. Perhaps it’s the Philadelphian in me, but I was expecting at least some scattered boos. After all, fans booed Scott Rolen after he forced his way out of Philadelphia. And fans still boo Jayson Werth (which is extremely stupid and needs to stop).

But just about the only taunting I heard all series was not directed at Halladay, but at us about Joe Carter’s home run almost two decades prior. In Halladay’s first return to the Rogers Centre the fans gave him a standing ovation as he went to the mound in the first.

Even after he threw a complete game to lead the Phillies to victory, they cheered. He was like their Chase Utley, and even Chase Utley never requested a trade. And that just demonstrates the type of guy Halladay was; even a jilted fan base adored him.

And by the way, that three-run, eight-strikeout complete game win was only the 18th best game score Halladay recorded that season.

Just a couple questions this week:

@SAKrawczyk: With Sixto getting much more press, is it wrong of me to be equally excited for Franklyn Kilome? I assume he starts in Reading, but reason to believe he makes starts in LHV this season?

Kilome is an exciting prospect, to be sure, but from what I understand there’s more risk and less upside than Sixto Sanchez. Kilome is huge and spindly, standing in at 6’-6” but with a listed weight of 175 lbs. While the height can help him generate a better downward plane on his fastball and his extra long levers can give him more velocity, it also makes his delivery more difficult to repeat, and he’s not known as a spectacular athlete.

His fastball velocity spiked this season, touching 97, and he’s just 20 years old, so there’s plenty of time for him to iron out his mechanics. What’s concerning, though, is that after the leap to Single-A and during his few starts at Reading this year, his strikeout rate fell without a corresponding drop in his walk rate. At Lakewood, he offset his 10% walk rate with a 26% strikeout rate. Unfortunately, upon reaching Clearwater, that strikeout rate fell to 20% while the walk rate held relatively steady at 9.1%.

A similar drop occurred in his short stint at Reading with him striking out just 16.3% of hitters while walking over 12%. That may be due to fatigue, and struggling while jumping two levels in one year is perfectly understandable, but contrast that with Sanchez, who ran a 25% strikeout rate with a 3.5% walk rate at Lakewood before his cameo at Clearwater.

I don’t mean to denigrate Kilome, as he’s a good prospect with plenty of potential. Scouting reports I’ve seen put his ceiling as a middle-of-the-rotation starter, which is great. But Sanchez, who just turned 19, hits triple digits with his fastball, has flashed plus secondaries, and has the ace potential.

@RobertDalton52: With prospects to protect by Nov 20, what order would you list current 40 man roster members r of most likely to be removed to least likely.

I did a similar exercise here in these digital pages a few weeks ago. I wrote:

The Phillies have a bunch of mediocre relief pitchers on the 40-man. Several of those players, like Alberto Tirado, Yacksel Rios, Kevin Siegrist, Zac Curtis, and Ricardo Pinto could be DFA’d to make room for prospects or free agents. Ditto Henderson Alvarez, who has only thrown 37 major league innings since the 2014 season when he was surprisingly the Marlins best pitcher. It’s possible the Phillies like what they see in one or more of these pitchers, but I don’t think any of these players would necessarily be a huge loss.

Since then, Siegrist and Alvarez have become free agents. Just this week, they dropped Jesen Therrien and Pedro Florimon. According to the Phillies’ website, there’s 38 players on the 40 man at the current moment. I’d say the most likely candidates to be removed from the roster are still the rest of the pitchers I listed above.

Have a good weekend everybody.

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13 comments

  1. Andrew R.

    November 10, 2017 10:05 AM

    Here’s a thought. Sixto Sanchez to the Cubs for Jason Heyward and Ian Happ. The Cubs farm system has taken some big hits recently, and they would be acquiring a top-50 prospect, with an unlimited ceiling. They would receive a significant amount of payroll relief in trading Heyward. Heyward still brings phenomenal defense and will still be 28. This might his final chance to prove himself. Ian Happ, at age 22, managed 24 bombs last year and is superfluous on the Cubs team. He would be our third baseman to add to the infield core of Kingery, Crawford, and Hoskins. That would be a hell of a core for the next decade.

    • Michael Schickling

      November 10, 2017 10:54 AM

      At this point, Heyward is a net negative, given his contract. According to FanGraphs, he’s produced just $19.8 million worth of value over the past two years. In that time, he’s gotten paid nearly $50 million, with nearly $150 remaining over the next six years.

      He’d have to be worth something like 3-3.5 WAR next year (assuming usual aging and inflation) to even break even on his salary. And that’s not to mention that defense tends to decline earlier than offense on the aging curve. He’s only projected to be worth 2.4 WAR next year, which, by the way, was his total in the last two years combined. A 2.4-win projection feels optimistic, and that still portends more than $40 million in net losses.

      Bottom line: for us to be willing to take Heyward, they’d have to sweeten the deal quite a bit, and nothing about including Sanchez in a deal feels sweet to me.

      • Andrew R.

        November 10, 2017 11:47 AM

        I disagree. I trade Sixto for Happ straight up every single time. There is still plenty of risk for Sixto. One little elbow twinge and it’s over. Heyward, despite being as bad as you say, still had a higher WAR than Altherr and Nick Williams combined (according to b-ref).

        As far as money is concerned, who cares? It isn’t my money. And clearly, the team had no problem carrying Howard for the same amount while producing a negative WAR. Still the only guy with a $100M+ contract who owes their team money in terms of WAR value.

        The Phillies are a team that can clearly carry one of the heaviest payrolls in the game. Luxury tax limits are rising and with the ability to spend $200M, I’m doubtful Heyward will be preventing us from adding who we want 3 years down the road.

        I’m not saying this is the perfect fit, but if you can add a player of Happ’s ability to your young core and have him be under team control for 5 more seasons, you make the sacrifices. Maybe then he plays second, while we trade Kingery and Cesar for pitching prospects and sign machado.

      • Michael Schickling

        November 10, 2017 12:15 PM

        The trade of Happ and Sanchez straight up is certainly defensible, though I agree with Chris S’s point that we need pitchers more than we need hitters, especially in the outfield and second base.

        But honestly, do you think that “because we hamstrung ourselves by overpaying one guy, we should overpay another” is a viable team-building strategy?

        As to the bWAR comparison, Altherr and Williams’ low WAR totals (both b and f) are due to defensive negatives in small samples, while history and scouting (respectively) like their defensive potential. And fWAR thought Williams was Heyward’s equal and Altherr was much better than him, both in fewer PAs. And that’s not to mention that Heyward will make more than 20 times their combined salaries next season.

      • JustBob

        November 10, 2017 08:41 PM

        The dumbest trend in MLB right now is when players are compared strictly on a net worth of their contract vs future expected value in terms of WAR or another similar composite performance metrics.

        It is sabermetric masturbation. It is saburation.

      • Andrew R.

        November 10, 2017 11:45 PM

        JustBob, I agree. People worry about billionaire owners’ bottom line. Acquiring a guy who will be worth “only” 2.5 WAR isn’t good enough. They HAVE to be worth one more Win for us to consider him. Otherwise, he gets paid too much.

        Why can’t the Phillies acquire a player to help address another need with another player? The Nats paid a heavy price for Adam Eaton, whose value is greatly tied into his defensive value. They did that so turner can move back to shortstop.

        Not that it’s realistic, but Phil’s could do that trade and cut Heyward. Trade for Machado and Chris Davis. Cut Davis, extend machado. Sign Darvish and their payroll still wouldn’t be $150M. But I’m sure saber metrics wouldn’t support those moves, and it just wouldn’t be “worth it” from a financial standpoint.

      • ASK

        November 11, 2017 10:16 AM

        JustBob,

        Why is it dumb to make personnel decisions on expected production vs. cost? Teams have budgets and only spend to certain limits. They also have roster limits. So, the cost of overpaying a player relative to his expected performance matters and the opportunity cost of having an overpaid player taking the roster and starting lineup spot of a player who projects to provide better value matters a lot.

        As it pertains specifically to Heyward, it comes down to how much you trust (a) the defensive metrics and (b) his ability to re-learn how to be something more than a well below average hitter. He’s averaged 1.2 fWAR and 1.95 bWAR over the past 2 years while his offensive production was > 20% below league average (wRC+ of 78, OPS+ of 74 in 2016 & 2017). If his swing remains broken, he’s going to be hard-pressed to produce enough defensively to justify a starting spot in the lineup.

    • Chris S

      November 10, 2017 11:50 AM

      Our problem isn’t hitting we have plenty of good hitting prospects that have come up the last year. We need pitching in a bad way and trading a guy that has the ceiling that Sixto has would be silly at this point in my opinion.

      • Chris S

        November 10, 2017 11:53 AM

        Additionally Heyward is an OF and we have a glut of OF players/prospects that I would rather see playing. Additionally just because we can carry his contract doesn’t mean I would want to carry it with Harper and Machado set to hit the FA market next year.

      • Michael Schickling

        November 10, 2017 12:15 PM

        Couldn’t agree more, Chris.

    • Romus

      November 10, 2017 02:40 PM

      Andrew R…Theo wants pitching….but not pitchers 3 years away even with high ceilings….he may already have them on his farm. He probably wants Nola. I assume the Phillies, if they ever considered that , would charge him an arm and leg.
      But the Cubs may take a chance with Velasquez, assuming he could be their next reclamation Arrieta. Just not sure what a good exchange would be for VV.

      • JustBob

        November 10, 2017 08:42 PM

        There is no way the Phils are trading Velasquez this offseaason. They would be selling at a low point and it would be an admission that the Giles trade, Klentak’s biggest move to date, was a failure.

      • Major Malfunction

        November 13, 2017 01:54 PM

        Maybe not. Giles pretty much shit the bed in the playoffs a la Brad Lidge. Closers are usually head cases and sometimes this kind of stuff stays with them afterwards.

        Hopefully he doesn’t get a case of the yips like Lidge did after Pujols defiled him in the 2005 LCS. It got in his head and he fell apart like a Chinese motocycle during the WS where he earned 2 losses and literally cost them the WS that year.

        Obviously Giles did not cost the Astros the WS this year, but he got rocked severely in the DS, LC, and WS. A combined total of 11.74 ERA, 7.2 IP, 12 H, 10 ER, 5 BB, 10 K, 2.217 WHIP. Gave up 3 HRs in only 7 IP in the playoffs after only allowing 4 the entire year.

        It will be interesting to see how he recovers from that before we close the book on this trade, but I would still say it was crap considering the Phillies took Appel in it.

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