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.

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19 comments

  1. Wawa Mike

    May 09, 2018 10:01 AM

    It’s an exciting time to be a Phillies fan. Between their devastating defeats, and their thrilling victories, they show up every day and play hard for 9 innings. Did anybody think last winter that we would be entertaining thoughts of post season play? I hope that we don’t have to wait for July 31st to roll around for Klentak to start dealing. In my opinion, we need to subtract an outfielder, and add Roman Quinn. Between pinch running and hitting, late game defensive replacement, and getting a couple of starts a week, Quinn could be a shot in the arm for this team. The starting pitching will work it’s way out (it always does), but if the Phillies are getting quality starts from 6 pitchers by the end of May, go with it. I would keep Nola on an every 5 day schedule, and fill in the blanks with the rest of the staff. The extra day off could be beneficial in August, September, and (Gulp) October.

  2. Jeffrey Orbach

    May 12, 2018 08:37 AM

    How about using him to replace Neris now. Maybe we could trade Neris for a bag of used baseballs and a restock of the juice machine.

    • RK

      May 12, 2018 05:46 PM

      Me too. The concept of a closer only makes sense when you have someone who is overwhelming. Otherwise its stupid. From an analytics perspective check the lineup and put in the pitcher most likely to prevail.

      • Wawa Mike

        May 13, 2018 08:46 AM

        RK – I agree. During the winter, Kapler talked a lot about using his bullpen in an unconventional way. It hasn’t happened.

      • Romus

        May 13, 2018 12:57 PM

        WaWa….tough to do when the the two high off-season BP signings were hurt.
        If Neshek and Hunter were available on 29 March and remained healthy, I think he may have been able to do what he planned….whether or not it would have been successful would be based upon their execution.

    • awh

      May 14, 2018 01:43 PM

      Jeff, for a normally rational poster , I have to believe you are engaging in hyperbole.

      Trade Neris for a bag of balls?

      Just plain silly. Since 2016 Hector has been the 37th most valuable reliever in MLB.

      www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=rel&lg=all&qual=y&type=8&season=2018&month=0&season1=2016&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&page=1_50

      Given that each team carries at least 7 RP, that makes a minimum of 210 RP that have graced MLB mounds since then, which places him in the top 17%.

      However, if you take into account all of the Zac Curtises that have managed a cup of coffee or two since then, Neris is a top 10% reliever.

      You seem way too smart to let recency bias affect your evaluation of a player, so perhaps you’ve rethought it since your post.

      The idea of trading Neris because of a couple of recent blips is almost as foolish as the idea that you shouldn’t sign Clayton Kershaw because of his postseason track record.

      • Jeffrey Orbach

        May 15, 2018 10:35 AM

        Obviously you and I don’t share a sense of humor. Just trying to get a laugh off of a couple of dismal performances.

        We’re not going to get much if we trade him, I would wait for him to get a hot streak (if he gets the opportunity) and then deal him for something (ok 2 bags of used baseballs), because I think we’ve got enough arms to compensate for losing him in the pen.

      • Jeffrey Orbach

        May 15, 2018 10:36 AM

        BTW- I would be leary of signing Kershaw because of his in-season injury record.

      • Romus

        May 15, 2018 03:05 PM

        J.Orbach:
        Kershaw in 2016 spent 75 days on the DL with a herniated disc in his back.
        Last summer….. the prognosis was “much better,” according to their manager…..Roberts who said a re-occurrence of the disc injury “was our biggest concern.”…last summer they said it was muscular in nature.
        So like you say….he has a in-season injury history, and lot of it stems from lower back….which is not a good thing once a player is in their 30s.

      • awh

        May 15, 2018 06:13 PM

        Jeffrey, I got the joke, but I guess where you and I differ is that I think the notion of trading a guy who’s been in the top 10% of relievers the last 2-1/4 seasons unwise.

        Trading him would be cutting your nose off to spite your face.

        Why? Because he blew 3 saves this season? Jeurys Familia has blown 3 saves this season too. Look at Craig Kimbrel’s track record – he’s blown an average of 3 saves a year in his career – 4 in 2017 – and he’s damn near the best in the business. In 2016 he LOST 6 games while blowing a 2 saves. Not exactly what you’d expect from a high-leverage reliever, is it? Kenley Jansen blew the same number of saves in 2016/2017 as Neris – and he IS the best in the business….. and OMG… he’s blown two saves already this year, only one less than Hector.

        The point is that sometimes RP get into funks that are magnified by the small sample sizes, which causes people to forget how good they actually are.

        In short – and I’ll stick my neck out here – IMHO demoting Neris for a couple of blown saves is foolish and counterproductive, because even the best closers in baseball do it.

        Gabe Kapler claims to be analytics driven, but his demotion of Neris shows me that he’s anything but that, or at the very least inconsistent in their application. He’s reacting to emotion, not to the track record that says Hector Neris has been one of the best relievers in MLB.

      • Chris S

        May 16, 2018 09:13 AM

        Or maybe Kapler figured out Neris has not been good all year. Instead of letting him figure it out in the 9th inning of the game, he will let him figure it out in the 6 or 7th inning.

      • awh

        May 16, 2018 06:01 PM

        Chris S, true, but can’t games be lost in the 6th and 7th innings too?

      • Chris S

        May 17, 2018 09:57 AM

        They can be lost for sure. However, you could also make an argument that blowing the lead in the 6th or 7th inning still gives you time to score more runs. Giving up the lead in the 9th inning on the road means you’ve lost the game and there is no time to regain the lead.

  3. Jeffrey Orbach

    May 17, 2018 09:05 AM

    I like the fact that Kapler is trying to gradually rebuild Neris’s confidence, letting him get the single out yesterday was IMO what he’s trying to do.
    I still think Neris has already reached his ceiling in terms of effectiveness. I think the league has a book on him already. They wait out the splitter (if they can resist it’s allure), then pounce on either a fastball down the middle or one of his pedestrian terciary pitches.

    He’s got to try to elevate his FB enough to create a swing and miss or weak contact pop-up and throw the splitter after showing the FB so it changes the eye level of the batter.

    • Chris S

      May 17, 2018 01:06 PM

      Its unacceptable! My fantasy team lost out on a save because of Kaplers decision! ;P

      • Romus

        May 17, 2018 01:27 PM

        But don’t you get two points for ‘holds’? Or maybe no points for ‘holds’?

      • Chris S

        May 17, 2018 03:40 PM

        My league does have holds so it was okay, but I would have preferred a save. 😛

  4. Steve

    May 17, 2018 01:57 PM

    Website is dying a slow death, you should just pull the plug and acknowledge you don’t care about this blog. The Phils just had a great stretch of baseball and you can’t even find the time to post an article in over a week. Shameful.

    • Ryan

      May 17, 2018 04:27 PM

      Go direct your anger towards a worthwhile endeavor, and try and redefine your definition of shameful. You should also refrain from ending your “arguments” (which are actually just incoherent ramblings) with one word hot takes.

      I had a longer paragraph written out, but you are not worth the time. Taking the time to write your comment proves that you’re an irrational person, demanding something from a group of strangers who have done nothing but provide free services for all of our entertainment.

      The vast majority of us love the Crashburn content and are thankful for all of your work.

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