Crashburn Alley 2014 Playoff Predictions

The playoffs are finally upon us, which means it’s time for some more Predictions Which Are Bound to Make Us All Look Stupid. Our pre-season predictions weren’t so hot, but we’re going to put the pedal to the metal again to see which among us can see best into the future.

The numbers under the logos indicate the W-L from the previous round. The World Series winners have been double-underlined in case the bracket is too hard to follow. Click on a name to go to the top of his bracket.

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Another Season in the Books

Another Phillies season has come to an end and, unfortunately, there will be no October baseball for a third consecutive year. On behalf of all of us here at Crashburn Alley, I’d like to thank all of you who stopped by throughout the season and made us a regular part of your web-surfing routine.

The season may be over, but we’ll still be active here throughout the off-season as usual. Shortly, we’ll be revealing our playoff predictions, and over the next six weeks starting on Wednesday, we’ll be posting report cards on individual Phillies players as we did last year. If the Phillies end up doing anything during the off-season, you can be sure that there will be coverage of it here, so don’t take us out of your bookmarks just yet.

Is An Amaro Extension On The Horizon?

Last night, the Phillies announced the firing of Marti Wolever, Assistant General Manager in charge of amateur scouting. The most recent drafts overseen by Wolever have been routinely praised and both first round picks, J.P. Crawford and Aaron Nola, are off to very strong starts in the system. However, the Phillies scouting department came under a great deal of scrutiny this spring when a story broke that someone within the organization ratted out 2013 5th round pick Ben Wetzler to the NCAA for using an agent during negotiations. The story has faded and there were no apparent repercussions for the Phillies during this year’s draft, but it’s certainly plausible that the controversy played a role in the Phillies deciding to make a change in leadership within their scouting department.

Regardless of the motivations, a change is coming and Meghan Montemurro of The Delaware News Journal brings up a fantastic point about what else it could mean for the Phillies this offseason:

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Kendrick’s Farewell

Last night we likely said goodbye to a fixture of the most successful run in Phillies history. Kyle Kendrick helped usher in the first of five consecutive division titles as a “where’d this kid come from?” rookie in the magical 2007 season. His 10-4, 3.87 ERA performance during that rookie campaign, though, was a mirage. The arsenal he brought with him to the majors, a mediocre fastball-slider combo, was not sufficient for a prolonged stay in a big league rotation. As a result, he struggled through the next two seasons, spending most of 2009 in Lehigh Valley. The reason we’re still talking about Kyle Kendrick five years later is what he did with his trip back to AAA.

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A Glimpse of Maikel Franco

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the Phillies are bad. They’ve been bad for quite a while, and as the calendar flipped from August to September, they were…still bad. So when rosters expanded this month and top prospect Maikel Franco was summoned to the big leagues, it made sense to expect the Phillies to give Franco a good, long look at third base.

Yeah, not so much. In 20 games this month, Franco has 48 at bats (for those wondering, that’s 50 plate appearances; he’s not the most patient guy at the plate). The franchise that has so little in the way of young, projectable talent, and so little to play for as the season winds down, has given its best young position player not named J.P. Crawford a whopping total of 50 plate appearances this month.

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Five Things We Learned About the Phillies This Season

The Phillies are in Miami to face the Marlins in their final road series of the season. Then, they’ll head back to Philadelphia to wrap up the schedule at home against the Atlanta Braves. Most likely, they’ll finish in last place in the NL East with around 75 wins, another unremarkable season and the third consecutive season in which they’ve failed to reach the playoffs.

The front office will watch the playoffs from home before putting pen to paper to begin restructuring the team for a better outlook in 2015 and beyond. They can’t do that without first looking back and taking stock of everything they learned throughout the 2014 season. Here are five things we learned about the Phillies this season.

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David Buchanan Could be the Next Kyle Kendrick

Kyle Kendrick will likely make his final start as a Phillie on Wednesday when the team will be in Miami to take on the Marlins. Kendrick is eligible for free agency after the season after earning $7.675 million in 2014 in which he was arbitration-eligible for the final time. Considering Kendrick’s poor performance over the course of the season and the money he’d be requesting, it’s hard to imagine the Phillies would pay millions of dollars to keep him around.

In eight years with the Phillies, Kendrick as compiled a 4.44 ERA (91 ERA+) over 1,131 2/3 innings. While he has by no means been a key contributor, he has provided value at the back end of the starting rotation — and, at several points in 2011-12, out of the bullpen — by being healthy and consistently being able to soak up six innings on average every time he took the mound.

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It’s Time To Rethink Amaro Administration Stereotypes

Stop me if you’ve heard this before. The Phillies are a joke of a franchise. Their organizational philosophy is akin to wandering through the forest in the middle of a cloudy, starless, moonless night. A look at the farm system reveals nothing but an empty cupboard stripped bare to fuel playoff runs from 2007-2011. And then there’s that roster with date of births bearing an uncanny resemblance to the Starting Nine for your neighborhood retirement community.

It’s this type of mundane, trite and, yes, dated analysis that may continue on until this team finds itself in contention, whenever that might be. The latest example of this Phillies (read: Amaro) bashing genre was found in Jay Jaffe’s obituary for the 2014 Phillies. Throughout the piece, Jaffe provides a relatively thorough and reasonable summary of the good, the bad, and the ugly for the Phillies this season although there is one glaring omission in that he lambastes the farm system without so much as a mention of J.P. Crawford‘s breakout season. To end the piece, however, Jaffe effortlessly falls into the trap of offering the same weak analysis we’ve heard ad nauseam:

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Guest Post: The Phillies Outfield Sideshow

By Dan Keely

Before we get started, I should mention that this is more an exploratory piece than an exposition. If you’re looking for a cause and solution, stop here. Likewise, if you want hope for the future I am not offering that here. With that said, let’s delve into the depressing state of the Phillies outfield in recent years.

Since 2010, the Phillies have had 27 different players patrol one of the outfield spots during a game. Some have been significant contributors, but most have been spot/emergency starters or fliers taken by the front office in the hopes of finding a diamond among the garbage. Notably, though, only eight of these players have accrued more than 500 PA in that time span, attesting to the spinning door that has been the Phillies attempt to field a starting outfield.

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