Monday Morning Roundtable: Fact or Fluke

Each Monday morning I ask the writers a series of questions about current topics facing the Phillies and baseball. This week, the Phillies record is still bad, but they are playing much better. Which of these trends are real, and which ones are setting us up for disappointment?

Luis Garcia has not given up a run since June 13 and since then has gone 17.1 IP with 7 hits, 5 walks, 17 strikeouts, and a ground ball rate over 60%. Is Luis Garcia good?

Michael: Fact. Garcia’s strikeout rate is down, but his walk rate is way down to just 8.1%. If you take out the one game where he allowed 5 ER in 0.2 innings, his ERA would be just 1.14.

Adam: Fact. Because just like in the NBA, everyone makes a run. Relievers are notoriously volatile and if Garcia is getting whiffs, he’s good (for this team). Continue reading…

Crash Bag Vol. 29: Looking to the Future, Because the Present Sucks

First of all, thanks everyone for helping us keep the lights on here. Writing for Crashburn Alley has been amazing, and thanks to you wonderful readers, I get to keep doing it. It really warms the cockles of my cold sabermetric heart to see such a robust and immediate response to our pleas.  You guys and gals are awesome.

Most of the questions this week focused on the Phillies future. 2019 records and 2020 starters; trades and prospects. The present is bleak, but there’s nowhere to go but up.

@TylerSmithEtown: What will the Phillies win differential be from the 2017 season to the 2019 season?

This is really two separate questions with a simple math step at the end. I’ll start with the 2017 team. Continue reading…

Bad Luck Continues, Aaron Altherr Out For Longer

I feel like I keep repeating this, but the 2017 Phillies are a bad baseball team, but they also are a really unlucky one. Before the weekend, they were poised to have Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, and Cesar Hernandez healthy, and have Howie Kendrick out on a rehab assignment. Then Aaron Altherr hurt his hamstring, and today Matt Gelb rained on the parade some more by reporting that the injury was more serious than initially diagnosed and that Altherr would be out for 3-4 weeks. The injury robs the Phillies of one of their best bats and ruins the Williams-Herrera-Altherr outfield that gave fans a reason to watch every night. With the Phillies now down another bat, it was natural to turn to farm to look for another prospect to come join the Phillies. Continue reading…

Two Six Year Minor League Free Agents May Alter 40 Man Plans

It is rare that a player sticks around a major league organization for 6 full years without once encountering the 40 man roster. For those that make it that far in their minor league career, free agency awaits. Their team may add them to the 40 man roster before the end of the league year to prevent this. For the most part, players that reach this distinction are players like the Phillies’ Carlos Tocci who were young international signings who developed late. While Tocci is probably the highest ranked prospect who could be a free agent, a pair of relievers offer the most intrigue.

The Phillies kicked off the 2011 draft with a complete dud in Larry Greene Jr, but the class will always be considered a success because of the reliever they took in the 7th round, Ken Giles. The rest of the class has marginal major leaguers (Adam Morgan, Cody Asche, and Colton Murray), a feel good story who is also a major leaguer (Brock Stassi), and an oft injured athlete (Roman Quinn). While the dust has settled on most of those players, it is the 18 year olds the Phillies took in the 12th and 17th rounds that are on the verge of making the majors. Continue reading…

Monday Morning Roundtable: Trade Talk

Each week I interrogate the writers here with some questions on some subjects that may relate to the Phillies. This week we all take our stab at the hot stove and try not to look like fools with our opinions.

Question 1: Who are your untouchable* players at the deadline?

*Well untouchable for non-Mike Trout players

Adam: Nola, Kingery, Crawford, Sixto.
I know it’s fashionable currently to be anti-Crawford, but to me it doesn’t seem possible for a (mostly) healthy guy to go from global top 10 prospect to no-hit, all glove bust in the span of a year. You could slay me with my own sword on Kingery, but I don’t see why that would be very nice. I also think that while Maikel Franco isn’t untouchable, he’s practically untradeable. Continue reading…

Crash Bag Vol. 28: The Mighty Contract Of Giancarlo Stanton

The Phillies have not lost a baseball game in almost a week. It’s a good time to be a fan.

@MisterZoomer: I still have faith in Franco being at least league average at 3B. Am I delusional? At what point do I accept this is what he is?

Let’s walk backwards in the Maikel Franco timeline.

The 2017 disaster is about the ground ball. Franco has a .132 average on ground balls this year, and he hits too many for a player of his skill set. No slow-footed hitter is going to excel by killing worms. But there is a large dose of bad luck in this number. The league as a whole has a .249 average (.256 for right-handed batters) on ground balls spanning the last three years. And here are the career marks of some other locomotively-challenged hitters from the right side.

Continue reading…

2017 GCL Phillies Season Preview

The future of the Phillies rests in their minor leagues. Not every prospect will come up to help the major league team, some will be traded, and some will stumble along the way. Today we continue Crashburn’s preview of the minor league system with the GCL Phillies. The goal is to give a quick overview of the team and the top prospects, but also a deeper dive into the full roster.

The Gulf Coast League season started almost 3 weeks ago, but with the draft signing deadline passed the roster has finally settled. The league serves as the first stop for domestically drafted players as well as the first organized stateside league for the organization’s international signees. The level of baseball is often very low, but it is also a league of teenagers just trying to figure out what it takes to make it professional baseball.

Quick Pitch

The Gulf Coast League is an important league. It is our first look at high school draftees and big international signings. We have been spoiled the last few years, as the GCL Phillies have played host to Mickey Moniak, Jhailyn Ortiz, Sixto Sanchez, Daniel Brito, Arquimedes Gamboa, Jonathan Arauz, Adonis Medina, Cornelius Randolph, Elniery Garcia, and Franklyn Kilome. This year’s version lacks the star power from the draft, but a quartet of Latin American players make this year’s version just as intriguing, even if it lacks in domination. Continue reading…

Crashburn Alley Needs Your Help (and you all helped more than I could have imagined)

UPDATE (7/17): We have reached our goal!

As some pointed out, this original post did not have a goal and frankly we could have done better in making this a more transparent process. The money needed to keep this site hosted an running for the next year was $479.88. In under two days you all have donated $761.22. I am incredibly blown away by your generosity and the support we received. I want to thank all of you so much.

You can continue to donate to the upkeep of the site, for now all overages are going towards next year and making sure we can keep this place going for many years to come.

-Matt

Continue reading…

What Does a Successful Second Half Look Like?

To say this season has not gone according to plan would be a huge understatement. We all remember the now-infamous prediction by Pete Mackanin that the Phillies could be a .500 team this year. Well through just over 50% of the season, they’ve got a .333 winning percentage. In order to finish the season at .500, the Phillies would have to win 52 of their final 75 games, and, well, that’s just not going to happen.

Some would say this was a lost season. The team obviously hasn’t won a lot, but more alarmingly, several presumed key pieces to the next Phillies playoff team have taken significant steps backward. Odubel Herrera has a 76 wRC+. Cesar Hernandez has been hurt. Tommy Joseph has been replacement level. Maikel Franco has been well below replacement level. Jerad Eickhoff has taken a step back. Vince Velasquez has been hurt. Hector Neris has taken a step back. The revolving door at the back of the rotation has been more like a Tilt-A-Whirl. But you knew all of that already.

I’m here to tell you that the storm clouds can pass. There are a few things that need to happen to salvage this so-far lost season and keep the rebuild going in an upward trajectory.

Continue reading…

Monday Morning Roundtable: Midseason Awards

The first (or really the pre-All Star break) half of the season is in the books and the Phillies are bad. This week I asked the writers to give away some positive awards, because we all really don’t want to dwell on Michael Saunders’ Phillies tenure.

First Half MVP:

Adam: My MVP is Aaron Altherr. I’m sure I’m not the only one on board that rocket, and for good reason. We have ample evidence now that this is the player Altherr truly is, and not the withered husk still recovering from injury in 2016. In 2015 and 2017, Altherr has posted very fine wRC+ of 125 and 124.  Continue reading…