This One Is Going to Hurt, Hoskins’ Jaw Injury Force Cozens to the Majors

It didn’t take long for the buzz of an exciting call up for Mitch Walding to wear off. It appears that Rhys Hoskins was misdiagnosed when it looked like he had dodged major injury from a foul ball to the face, because instead of being day to day he has a fractured jaw and will be out for an unknown period of time. As I detailed yesterday, the Phillies don’t actually have a lot of options for position player call ups. So the Phillies are calling up the one guy I said was not ready in 2012 2nd round pick Dylan Cozens. Continue reading…

Pedro Florimon to the DL, Reportedly Mitch Walding to the Majors

The Phillies entered the 2018 season with a 40 man roster full of pitchers. On the surface it made a lot of sense. The team was going to run a 4 man bench, it was going to run a fairly stable lineup, and the major league team had enough positional flexibility to withstand minor injuries. Largely this year, that has held true, with the only 25 man roster injury being J.P. Crawford’s. In that instance the Phillies moved Kingery into his spot, Pedro Florimon into his spot, and promoted Jesmuel Valentin to sit in Pedro Florimon’s spot on the bench. Continue reading…

Nick Williams is Thriving as a Pinch Hitter and Showing Meaningful Growth at the Plate

With the signing of Carlos Santana the Phillies opened themselves up to a playing time crunch in right field. A big question entering the year was how the Phillies would split the playing time for Aaron Altherr and Nick Williams. Through 47 games, Williams has 19 starts and Altherr has 30. So far that split has not gone well for either, with Altherr batting .198/.333/.379 and Williams at .231/.307/.374. Both players have been streaky throughout their careers and it as seemed like the Phillies are half a step behind in dividing the playing time. Right now the Phillies are going with more of a 50/50 split to playing time as Williams has surged in May. Continue reading…

Crash Bag #7: What Are The Questions We Should Be Asking?

@JimClemmens: Why has everyone seemed to forget or ignore jesmuel valentin’s domestic violence history?

I appreciate you asking this question, it is an important question to ask. I think on a basic level not many people know about it. For those without context, in April 2015 Jesmuel Valentin was arrested for domestic battery in an incident involving his wife. He was suspended for much of the 2015 season and went to counseling, and the charges were dropped, but ultimately that means very little in our society in terms of whether something occurred. During the time he was suspended it was easy to treat him like he was not a member of the Phillies organization. Valentin’s lack of prominence in the Phillies’ system has allowed it to fade from public awareness, and unlike established major leaguers like Aroldis Chapman, Addison Russell, and others, we have not been directly confronted with whether we want him on our baseball team. We still struggle as a society to talk about domestic violence as well, with many of the institutional problems around it (such as a lack of official reports, dropped charges, and fear for the safety of the abused) leading to ambiguity in facts. This ambiguity leads to a place where teams and league have decided that the player can continue to play, and we as fans have no say in that matter. It is uncomfortable to write about Valentin and others, it is uncomfortable to root for him, and it is uncomfortable not knowing about the continued safety of the abused. There are no charges and no legal ramifications here, and we don’t know what transpired 3 years ago. Ultimately we are left having to move on with that sick fear in our gut. Moving forward, teams need to have support structures for victims of domestic abuse. Major league baseball needs stricter punishments against perpetrators of domestic abuse and teams that allow it to happen. Teams need to stop promoting policies, events, and individuals that build gender divides and glorify and perpetuate all forms of violence.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline www.thehotline.org/ (1-800-799-7233). Continue reading…

Differences in Sustainability: The 2018 and 2016 Phillies

The 2018 Phillies are currently 24-16, they have the second best record in both the NL East and the NL in general. This isn’t the first time the Phillies have gotten off to a hot start in the rebuild era. Leaving the day on May 18, 2016 the Phillies were 24-17, with the second best record in the division and the third best record in the NL. We know how that story went with the Phillies ending up 71-91 or 47-74 after that hot start. They ended up at a -186 run differential, which had their Pythagorean record at 62-100, pointing to a team that could have been even worse. Now no one is really arguing that the 2016 and 2018 Phillies are in a similar spot or are similar teams at all, but by exploring the differences we can see how far the team has actually come.

The Run Differential

Run differential is a volatile statistic where one or two good or bad games can make a big swing, but it is useful on a larger scale. On May 18, 2016 the Phillies were at -28 on the year. That is bad, not mediocre, actually bad. At the time I argued the Phillies were sacrificing blowouts and winning close games, to that point 13 of their 24 wins had been by a single run. In contrast the 2018 Phillies currently stand at +42. That is 3rd in the NL behind the Braves and an under performing Cubs team. The 2018 Phillies have only won 6 1 run games, and have been convincingly beating teams when they get a lead. Continue reading…

With the Promotion of Seranthony Dominguez the Phillies Are Sticking to Preseason Clichés

This spring the Phillies ran out a PR campaign around Kapler’s focus on “Value at the Margins” and #BeBold. For the most part the Phillies have been a pretty conventional sabermetrically inclines org. That is bold for baseball in this town. Outside Kingery starting in the majors, there hasn’t been any big personnel shakeups this year, until yesterday.

Stuff wise Seranthony Dominguez entered the offseason as #2 only to Sixto Sanchez. The righty was sitting 94-98 as a starting pitcher and holding his velocity deep into games. His slider showed plus potential, and he flashed an above average to plus changeup. The big problem was that Dominguez was 23 and had never really been healthy through a full year. The Phillies broke with what was conventional wisdom and moved what might have been a #2 or #3 starting pitcher to the bullpen to fast track him. After he blitzed AA, they moved him to AAA for the last little bits of polishing. Continue reading…

Yacksel Rios Has Continued To Grow In His Major League Time

Yacksel Rios has been in the Phillies system for a long time for a player dancing on the outside of being an actual prospect. The Phillies drafted him at 17 out of a Puerto Rican high school in 2011. He didn’t reach full season ball until 2014, and was still starting sometimes all the way through 2016. He spent some time as projectable loose armed work in progress, some time as a hard thrower with no clue what he was doing, and then finally last year things seemed to come together. With Reading, Rios was sitting 93-97 and flashing a good slider. A mid season injury robbed him of time and some velocity. The Phillies still saw fit to promote him to the majors in September rather than lose him in the fall to minor league free agency. He was ok for a rookie reliever, sitting more 92-96 and having trouble with his command. Continue reading…