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 (1-800-799-7233).

@TimmyLederman: Is Bailey Falter good?

Yes, but he isn’t suddenly an amazing prospect, just a solid one. Falter has a big projectable frame, but he still only sits in the low 90s. He has good offspeed pitches and solid command and control. Overall, he has a profile that should do well against low level hitters, but he profiles as a back end starter right now.

@mweintr: @mlbtraderumors had a post looking at 2B options for Seattle, and curiously didn’t mention César or Kingery. Would you consider dealing one of them to the Mariners? What would be a good return?

I don’t see the Mariners having the assets to pry away Hernandez or Kingery. Their top few prospects are highly flawed and worse than Kingery as a prospect. That means we are talking major league pieces, and I don’t see the Mariners parting with any of the things the Phillies would want.

@jedifernando57: I know Moniak is just 20 but when is it time to panic?

I guess it depends on what you are expecting from him. If you are still looking at an impactful 1:1 pick, that time probably passed a year ago. If you are worried about him being anything in the majors, you don’t need to be jumping ship yet. There are major league tools there, but there are some huge flaws, especially in his pitch recognition and approach. He is young and that is good for his future physical development, but the other pieces are harder to get better at, and maybe time fixes it, but for many players it does not. I still think he could be a second division regular or 4th outfielder, but more than that will take some leaps forward.

@FloDXB28: How did Nicky P become good and is it sustainable? I like the fact the front office tabbed him no. 4 starter over the winter and that he’s lived up to it and some more. Any regression coming soon?

On a simple level he started locating his pitches better and throwing his curveball sharper. Both of those changes are entirely sustainable. He still doesn’t really have a good changeup and so nothing in his arsenal breaks away from left handed hitters, and I think against some teams and batters that is going to be a problem. Ultimately he has shown the stuff to be an up and down #3 with some starts looking excellent and others a struggle. If the command falters in any way regression could come, but I don’t think the command is going to regress.

@PW_Galan: You’ve talked about the glut of pitching at Lakewood/Clearwater a bit this past week – what (if anything) should the Phils do to address this? Is it worth it to try to consolidate, or will having that depth be better in the long run (injuries, unexpected breakouts, etc)?

Right now, promote when needed and try and give everyone development time. I think they will probably use a player or two of it in a trade in the next year, but pitching gets hurt and the guys that fail may become relievers, so yeah having the depth is not a bad thing. Right now they can probably go a little bit without promoting Ramon Rosso, Will Stewart, or Spencer Howard, and maybe by the time they have to Sixto Sanchez and/or Bailey Falter has forced their way to AA.

@kai_tremoglie: How do you feel about Jhailyn Ortiz moving forward?

The same I did coming into the year, he has a chance to be a 30+ HR a year middle of the order hitter. He is 19 in his first full season, so I am not worried about the BB and K rates before the injury. He is rehabbing and should be back soon.

@RCMacc44: What’s up with Adonis Medina? What does he need to do to get back on track, because he has too good raw stuff to be playing this poorly

The stuff is all there, just struggling with command at a higher level. I am not too worried about him long term.

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  1. Wawa Mike

    May 21, 2018 11:32 AM

    I’ve liked Pivetta since he first came up. The one bad inning blowups were unnerving, but I admired the way he came back the following inning. Call it maturity, but he is working through the damage, and minimizing it.

  2. Romus

    May 21, 2018 02:11 PM

    I think another lefty to keep an eye out for is Lakewood’s Will Stewart.
    So far this season he is 4-0, with a 1.26 ERA with a couple of shut-outs…and also an xFIP of 2.96
    His peripherals are very good….WHIP 0.930 H/9-7.1….HR/9-0.4 BB/9-1.3 and K/9-8.0 with a BABIP of just .267
    He is still less than 50 innings pitched, so will have to see if he can sustain for another 75 innings or so.

  3. Chris S

    May 22, 2018 08:45 AM

    I really like what the Rays are doing with the backend of their rotation. Would it make sense to use that type of strategy with Velazquez or Eflin? If so who would you use in the first inning or so?

    • Romus

      May 22, 2018 02:32 PM

      If Gabe asked Arrieta to wait until the second inning to come in …I wonder what happens at that encounter.
      However, I do think with ViVe and Eflin it could be a sound strategy….first innings produce the most runs I believe from the top of the lineup and you can match up arm-side vs a particular lineup, especially if yuo have a lefty in the pen …….now ViVe and Eflin would not see the top of the order for the third time until the 7th or 8th inning, if one goes by the typical standard..

      • Wawa Mike

        May 22, 2018 03:23 PM

        Romus – For #4 and #5 starters, both Eflin and Velasquez are doing pretty good. Don’t mess with it. If one or both should begin to falter, they would probably bring a pitcher up from Lehigh.

    • Steve

      May 22, 2018 03:50 PM

      I’d be interested to see if the Ray’s continue to do it. It worked well in the one series because of who Anehiem has 1-3 in their lineup, and because Romo is such an effective specialist. Not all matchups will work so conveniently. That being said, it is interesting. Personally I would mess with Pivetta VV or Efline right now, they are all in nice little groove.

    • Steve

      May 23, 2018 04:55 PM

      The rays suck for a reason. This is not going to help th suck any less and the Phillies and any other team should not employ this idiotic approach. It’s not working btw

      • Chris S.

        May 25, 2018 01:47 PM

        Actually it worked beautifully the first game with Romo going one inning getting the top of the lineup out and then Yarbrough going 6 1/3 one run innings. The second game was played more as a bullpen game, but the second pitcher to come into the game gave up 2 unearned runs in 2 innings of work. Seems to me that it worked pretty well and it would be a worthwhile strategy to look into. Also the Rays are playing respectable baseball and are only 2 games under .500.

  4. Major Malfunction

    May 23, 2018 08:44 AM

    What are the questions we should be asking?

    OK. WTF happened to Hoskins? I mean he has just absolutely cratered since the first 2 weeks of April. He looks absolutely clueless up there.

    Last 7 Games 29 3 3 1 2 2 9 0 .103 .161 .241
    Last 15 Games 54 8 8 2 7 7 21 0 .148 .254 .315
    Last 30 Games 107 14 21 4 14 18 41 0 .196 .315 .355

    Yes, it’s early in the season and he’s only got a few months of MLB service. But he is trending WORSE rather than seeming to be coming out of his fog. His pitch recognition seems to be completely confused. He can’t hit a fastball at all and it seems every pitcher knows this now. I saw that he’s been working on fastball drills and trying to be more aggressive in his AB since the book on him now is to throw a heater on the 1st pitch that he normally just takes as a strike. But he seems to be “off” on every one of them.

    Love they guy, but is trotting him out there everyday the answer to get him out of it? He’s killing them with his 40+% K rate right now.

    • Jeffrey Orbach

      May 23, 2018 11:03 AM

      I think Hoskins is trying to pull everything right now. Earlier in the season I saw him poke a few balls into right field and going more with the pitch, I think he’ll come out of it eventually, but I think they should rest him a game or 2 to clear his head.

    • Wawa Mike

      May 24, 2018 10:35 AM

      Major – If the circumstances were different, I’d agree that sending Hoskins down might be for the best. The Phillies are 1/2 game out of first and Hoskins still gets on base a lot, so keep the status quo for now.

      • Major Malfunction

        May 24, 2018 01:09 PM

        Oh I concur. I don’t think sending him down is going to do anything but move the problem to another stadium. Especially considering he’s a clubhouse leader. I was thinking he sits a few days and works exclusively on mechanics, etc. The guy has uber talent. He appears to need some catalyst right now to get him running correctly.

  5. Wishful Dreamer

    June 04, 2018 12:49 PM

    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.

    I love our society, we act all pious and indignant that this happened and we want to hang the accused. I do not condone what he was accused of but WHAT WE DO KNOW:
    a. he was suspended for a year. During this year, he attended consoling and training to understand that this was wrong, why it was wrong and how to deal with the anger/disrespect that lead to this incident. Putting your head in the sand, ala the Ray Rice episode, shows a complete and utter failure on the part of the system and to think it won’t happen again is illogical and unrealistic.
    b. Charges were dropped yet he was suspended for a year – again, we are left with contradictory information. Did the incident really happen? Were he and his wife having issues prior to this and it was a he said/she said? Were their photos of the abuse? I don’t know, you’re the reporter. Do some homework and provide some background instead of just saying how horrified of the situation and it has to stop or don’t bother taking on a tough subject.
    c. As far as we know, it has not happened again. Is he still married to the same women? Is it possible that the year off and training have provided him the needed perspective and knowledge to be a good person and respect women. If the answer is yes, I have no problems with the man being on our team.
    d. part of being human, is to acknowledge our mistakes and learn from them. Society has become so unforgiving that there is no room for mistakes any more. get it right once or be condemned to hell forever. We did not live his life growing up. We don’t know what role models or lack of role models he had as a child. Quit living in a vacuum.
    e. All Sports teams should provide this training at the lowest levels to the young kids before the incident happens and continue through the rise through the minors. College teams should provide more than lip service to this type of training but they won’t because it effects the bottom line. They’d rather just react to the few times they get caught and act indignant. It’s much cheaper that way.

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