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.
In the majors the Phillies have struggled to find effective left handed pitching. Adam Morgan has been solid, but exactly dominant. Hoby Milner was a disaster and Zac Curtis looks like filler picked up off the waiver wire. When Adam Morgan went down with an injury on Monday, the easy thing for the Phillies to do would have been to call up Hoby Milner and have Dominguez sit in AAA until a right handed slot opened up or Hector Neris imploded even more. Instead they called up Dominguez and are essentially running an entire pitching staff without a functioning lefty. Dominguez may not be ready (he sure looked ready though), but he adds a lot more upside to the Phillies and a better chance they can win some of the 50-50 chances they will get.
The part to watch will be whether this is just the first step, or the start of a trend. The Phillies have mostly emptied the upper levels into the majors, but at some point they will have to deal with some high profile players still hanging around. Dylan Cozens needs more time and is unlikely to provide a big boost now, but Roman Quinn could be an asset off the bench for the Phillies. Quinn still has some development ahead, and the Phillies are going to have sacrifice some of that at some point to bring Quinn’s legs to the majors. On the pitching side, Enyel De Los Santos is not the most major league ready arm the Phillies have in AAA, but he is the highest upside. A team looking to make an impact in the majors is going to get a higher chance of that from De Los Santos’ right arm than from Cole Irvin‘s left. Even if the rotation spot is not there, the Phillies should be looking in August at preparing De Los Santos and Reading’s Franklyn Kilome (and possibly Ranger Suarez) to work as relievers in September to give the team an extra boost down the stretch. The Phillies have had an opportunity with the Nationals stumbling and the Braves and Mets leveling the division, top be able to hang in the race. The Phillies don’t really have the talent to win 90+ games the way they are currently built so they are going to make internal moves like aggressively promoting Seranthony Dominguez in order to make those little gains towards being a contender.