Crash Bag Vol. 44 – The Best Phillies Rotation
This week was a quiet one if you weren’t Jerry Dipoto despite it being the GM’s meetings. So with that, some questions.
@MichaelStubel: You’re tasked with putting together a rotation comprised of Phillies starters from the post-integration era. Who makes the cut?
I laid some rules for this exercise before starting.
- The pitcher had to spend some of their prime with the Phillies, I couldn’t use Pedro’s prime just because he was on the 2009 Phillies.
- I was looking for an average prime era season from the pitcher, not just a one year outlier.
- I get the pitcher vs the batters of their era. I didn’t want to figure out Robin Roberts vs 2010’s era batters.
My first search was to find the top single season pitcher bWAR for Phillies pitchers to get a list of candidates. Then to remove innings as a driver I sorted it by ERA+ as well to get a list of candidates: Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts, Roy Halladay, Jim Bunning, Cliff Lee, Chris Short, Cole Hamels, and Curt Schilling.
Carlton is the easiest call. For how much he is revered (deservedly so), Halladay only had two good years in Philly. He was incredibly dominant in those two years so he makes it. From 1950 to 1954 the average Robin Roberts season was 42 G, 39 GS, 327 IP, 2.87 ERA, 8.5 bWAR. He may not have the flashiest strikeout totals but he led all major league pitchers in the 50s in bWAR and IP, was 2nd in total strikeouts and 2nd in lowest BB%, he makes my rotation. Looking at the remaining names, Short and Hamels just don’t have the upside. I am going to take Cliff Lee because I think his 2011 was just ridiculous. This leaves Schilling vs Bunning. In the end it comes down in this exercise for me to getting their Phillies years. Arizona Schilling is easily in, but I am also looking at Bunning’s 1964 to 1967 stretch with the Phillies and I am just not going to pass that up.
So there it is Steve Carlton, Roy Halladay, Robin Roberts, Cliff Lee, and Jim Bunning.
@MisterZoomer: What’s a fair way to handle international signings that doesn’t result in imbalance (i.e. Yanks, Dodgers, etc. sign everyone) but fairly compensates the kids in Latin America and guys like Ohtani. How would that affect the domestic draft or is it one system for all?
The first question is who are we making this fair for? Are we making it fairer for competitive balance? Are we making it fairer for players? Are we making it fairer for owners? Long we have held to drafts and spending limits as pathways to competitive balance, but in reality they have worked to suppress spending on international players. The big drive of big markets into spending on international prospects has been the functional hard cap on major league spending (luxury tax). Signing bonuses are not included in this number so it allows teams to spend their muscle beyond where they are capped. With this my solution would be to remove caps on international spending and just include signing bonuses into the luxury tax calculation. Maybe you put in a rule where it must be a minor league or major league deal. Big markets could still throw their weight around internationally, but that would be less weight they could throw around in trades and free agency. For small market teams they can bid competitively in the international market where their dollar could go further while not being punished because they aren’t near the luxury tax mark.
@KeithWinder: Three bold predictions for the farm system during 2018.
- Seranthony Dominguez pitches in the Phillies bullpen late in 2018. Injuries have limited Dominguez’s innings, so he won’t be facing an unlimited amount of innings in 2018. I expect the Phillies to be more competitive in the 2018 season, and in September I see the Phillies reaching down for Seranthony as a fireballing reliever to help out the back of the bullpen to close out the season.
- The Reading Phillies go on a hot streak to make the playoffs behind Adonis Medina, Sixto Sanchez, and Ranger Suarez in the rotation. Cornelius Randolph hits 25 HRs on the season thanks to a hot August to power the offense. We are not sure how much of the power is real.
- Jhailyn Ortiz’s 28 home runs mark the 3rd straight year that the Lakewood home run record is broken. Ortiz gets off to a slow start in April, but I get a lot of questions in August about why he is not in Clearwater.
@mekanoff: If the Phillies some how get Shohei Otani, would you play him in the field on days he is not pitching, and if so which position?
Probably 1B. I would pitch him on this type of playing schedule:
Day 1: Pitch (~3 PA)
Day 2: Pinch hit (1 PA)
Day 3: Start 1B (4 PA)
Day 4: Start 1B (4 PA)
Day 5: Pinch hit (1 PA)
On the days he plays first you just deal with Hoskins in the outfield. You want him focusing on pitching so you clear the days before and after he starts as games he doesn’t play the field. That is somewhere on the order of 15 PA a week or about 400 PA on the season.
@mweintr: You quoted me on the wrong question last week in the Crash Bag, so I’ll ask again: Opening Day lineup next season?
1B Rhys Hoskins
This is at least what I would run out if they don’t trade Cesar Hernandez, which I would put at the most likely outcome right now (I think like 60/40 towards him staying). I think if Cesar is traded and Kingery is up, they jump Herrera to lead off, bump everyone up and put Kingery in the 7 hole.
@joelrineer: Sell me on one player stock you’d buy now before it goes up and one player stock you’d sell before it goes down
I am going to stay in my wheelhouse of Phillies prospects.
Buy: If you haven’t already bought in on Adonis Medina, you might want to do that now. He will probably be 4th or 5th on most prospect lists this offseason which will obscure the fact that he is not only a Top 100 prospect, but may be close to a Top 50 prospect. He does not have Sanchez’s raw stuff, and he is a bit older. However, he has plenty of fastball and his feel for pitching and secondary pitches are better. He profiles as a #3 starter with 3 plus or better pitches, but there is enough here that he could be a low end #2 if things go perfect.
Sell: It is hard to know what still has value, so sell Alberto Tirado and Dylan Cozens if you have any stock left, but those probably both have already cratered. As for guys riding high to sell. I don’t think J.D. Hammer will be on many lists this year, but he is currently on MLB’s top 30 and his name is said a lot. I think he could be a fine reliever, maybe even a setup guy, but the control doesn’t appear to be sharp and the stuff just isn’t that special when compared to the modern MLB reliever. There is so much that can go wrong between hi-A and the majors that I am just not going to buy in if people are selling him highly.
@dbmagazine: With the offensive core mostly falling into place, should Klentak abandon the org/his philosophy and buy top-level pitching w/ longterm deals when/if available?
Abandon the philosophy is a bit drastic, but should they look to buy pitching? Yes, and I think they will. I don’t think the Phillies expected the hitting to out pace the pitching by this much and the pitching development outside of Aaron Nola has certainly been a disappointment. I don’t think any of this wave of pitching outside of Nola and Vince Velasquez had realistic upside greater than a #4 starter (maybe a low end #3), so they still would be looking for high end pitching regardless. The thing right now is that they need a front line starter and they need depth. My personal choice on the depth would be to keep with the 1 year trade deals and see what it would take for the Blue Jays to part with J.A. Happ who is both good and left handed. As for what kind of pitching to buy, I would much rather spend in prospects or money to get a top guy than to get a bunch of smaller pieces. Right now in free agency that is maybe Yu Darvish, but might not even be him. On the trade front it is the usual names who may be available like Gerrit Cole, Chris Archer, and Marcus Stroman. It is hard to predict who will be available, but if someone young and could hits the market, they should move on it.