timberTim Guenther

Recent articles by timber

 

Crash Bag Vol. 27: Equal Opportunity Uselessness

Let’s peer into the depths of a bleak future. @Wzeiders: After the trade deadline, what does a failure for the Phillies look like? Pat Neshek is still their best reliever come August. But this is a failure on par with not claiming the free ticket you won on a lottery scratch-off. The real failure is
Continue reading…

 

Crash Bag Vol. 25: New Levels of Futility

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, there have been more Crash Bags in 2017 than Phillies’ wins. On to the questions. @viscof1: What kind of market/return is out there for Howie Kendrick? I know it won’t be a lot but he looks good at the play on the bases. Kendrick is hitting .440 on balls
Continue reading…

 

Adjustment Required

It is mostly a fact that all baseball articles concerning Odubel Herrera note the accomplishment of something remarkable. In 2015, it was a league leading BABIP driving a successful Rule 5 season. In 2016, he spent the month of April collecting all his walks for the year. In 2017, the story has been his range
Continue reading…

 

The Wrong Solution To The Wrong Problem

The Phillies are intent on getting Vince Velasquez deeper into his starts. Poor pitch economy is the oft-cited culprit of his short outings and also the focus of most offhand solutions. Here is the theory: by throwing fewer pitches to each batter, he will ultimately see more batters over the course of a game, and
Continue reading…

 

The Phillies Have A New Third Baseman

Among the many storylines of 2016, Maikel Franco‘s regression was perhaps the most discouraging. Franco spent the season mixing flashes of formidable hitting talent with an infuriating lack of approach at the plate. He did not swing at every pitch that came his way, but enough to render most of his natural talent moot. It
Continue reading…

 

Freddy Galvis: In Context

It is easy to look past Freddy Galvis. There is a top prospect waiting to assume his premium position on the baseball field. He does little with the bat. His numbers are underwhelming. But as we often see a player as a single WAR total, we may not be appreciating the full value of Freddy
Continue reading…

 

Tommy Joseph: Swing At The Strikes

Heading into the 2017 season, we here at Crashburn Alley strive to update you on a specific storyline regarding many of the returning staples from last season’s roster. Today is first baseman Tommy Joseph. For the ardent reader of the Crashburn Roundtable, my enthusiasm for Tommy Joseph should come as no surprise. For those who chose baseball
Continue reading…

 

If It Ain’t Broke, Fix It Till It Is

Spring Training is upon us, as signaled by the onslaught of upbeat stories about how the players spent their winter hibernation. Maikel Franco has slimmed down. Finally, a stolen base threat! Cesar Hernandez packed on fifteen pounds of muscle. He won’t have to run the bases if he’s hitting the ball over the fence! Mark
Continue reading…

 

Phillies Sign Chris Coghlan

It is difficult to muster enthusiasm for a player on a minor league contract. As to the selection of a team’s fifth outfielder, it is much the same. Today, then, the Phillies doubled down on unexciting in the minor league signing of Chris Coghlan, who will come to Spring Training with aspirations of netting one
Continue reading…

 

Ryan Hanigan Enters The Mix

The Phillies today signed Ryan Hanigan to a minor league contract. Stapled to that contract was a formal invitation to Spring Training, where the 36 year-old will compete with Jorge Alfaro, Andrew Knapp, and Bryan Holaday for the coveted role of back-up catcher to Cameron Rupp. If Hanigan emerges victorious, he will earn a salary
Continue reading…

 

2016 Phillies Report Card: Nick Williams

Reaching back to last offseason, the prevalent expectation for Nick Williams was simple: spend a few months tearing apart AAA pitching, fine tune the outfield defense, get fitted for red pinstripes. By the summer, the front office would be forced to bring the Cedric Hunter experience to an abrupt end. By the end of the
Continue reading…

 

2016 Phillies Report Card: Roman Quinn

I’m going to run through this report card quickly, before a sudden injury prevents me from completing it. In the sporadic moments when Roman Quinn is on a baseball field, his talents are apparent. He is fast. Very fast. And there is obvious benefit to possessing such elite speed. Defensively, it translates to range in
Continue reading…

 

Phillies Acquire Another Roll Of The Dice

The Phillies today traded for walking model of inconsistency Clay Buchholz. Along for the ride is a $13.5 million, one year commitment for 2017, which appears the preferred contract length of their offseason. Heading to Boston in the exchange is prospect Joshua Tobias, a 24 year old second baseman who most recently demonstrated his baseball
Continue reading…

 

A Core Commitment

On Thursday, the Phillies gazed into the long-term future of the franchise. What they saw was Odubel Herrera, roaming the outfield grass of Citizens Bank Park, tossing live baseballs into the stands while daydreaming about his next bat flip. Would it come on a home run? A pop-up? A called strike three? There’s only so
Continue reading…

 

2016 Phillies Report Card: Andrew Knapp

The above correspondence with prospect aficionado Matt Winkelman provides a simple context in which to view Andrew Knapp. Due to terms like below average and needs work, Knapp’s emergence as an effective major league entity will rely on both (a) his ability to hit, and (b) his very existence as a catcher. To his credit,
Continue reading…

 

2016 Phillies Report Card: Maikel Franco

Maikel Franco is simple to explain. Consider, his entire season can be reduced to a pair of text messages sent to the author on June 5, 2016: 1. [2:00 PM]: Nice job by Franco turning 3-0 into an out. What a spaz. 2. [2:43 PM]: Nice job by Franco turning 0-2 into a rocket home
Continue reading…

 

2016 Phillies Report Card: Zach Eflin

There was probably an unrealistic expectation set over the summer of 2015. Within a single month’s time, Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff debuted for the Phillies. Nola was expected to be good. Eickhoff was expected to be not terrible. Both stepped onto a major league mound and immediately looked like quality rotation pieces. Their sudden
Continue reading…

 

An Incremental Improvement

In a move that shows just how easy it is to improve the Phillies’ roster, Matt Klentak struck yet another trade in the early offseason. Howie Kendrick will bring his league average bat to Philadelphia, presumably to play a league average left field, and to run the bases in a somewhat league average manner. Heading
Continue reading…

 

2016 Phillies Report Card: Hector Neris

Entering the 2016 season, Hector Neris was largely written off as another middling to useless reliever on a team that appeared to be suffering from an epidemic of that sort. Enabling the stereotype were lofty numbers like 4.72 and 1.79, or the respective FIP and HR/9 that Neris pitched to the year prior. The Phillies’
Continue reading…

 

Phillies Acquire Solid Bullpen Arm

In the first significant move of the Phillies’ offseason, Matt Klentak acquired reliever Pat Neshek in a trade with the Houston Astros. The Phillies immediately exercised the 2017 team option in Neshek’s contract for a reported $6.5 million. Packing their bags for Houston are either a PTBNL or cash considerations, which is baseball parlance for “who cares?”

 

The Best Pitch In Baseball

In only his second start as a major leaguer, Jake Thompson took the mound against the Colorado Rockies and, despite the mathematical issues that make such an accomplishment improbable, proceeded to record four strikeouts in a single inning, becoming the first Phillies pitcher to do so since 1902. To execute such a feat, Thompson took
Continue reading…

 

Finding Professional At Bats

The Phillies are a bad offensive team. They have their moments, where the hits seem to fall in bunches, but as is often the case with bad offenses, reality brings them crashing back to earth. And when the offense goes into an especially brutal stretch of ineptitude, we often hear Pete Mackanin say he’s looking for
Continue reading…

 

Odubel’s Impending Breakout

Much of Odubel Herrera’s offense last year was tied to an incredible success rate on converting batted balls into hits. His .387 average on balls in play led the league, and it led Odubel to one of the most successful Rule 5 seasons in recent memory. But outside of that unsustainable number, the rest of
Continue reading…

 

Asche Found His Bat

Back in 2013, Cody Asche made his major league debut for the Phillies following a quick rise through their minor league system. While he wasn’t topping any prospect lists, Asche looked to have a capable bat, and he represented a much needed injection of youth in an otherwise aging roster. But the capable bat didn’t
Continue reading…

 

The Potentially Underrated Tyler Goeddel

The Phillies are a difficult team to watch right now. The unexpected, early season run is over, the briefly dominant pitching has taken a few steps backwards, and the offense has slowly ground to a complete halt. The upper levels of the minors seem to be teeming with exciting prospects, but we’re stuck in limbo until
Continue reading…

 

Franco’s Problems Are Popping Up

There is one number that sums up the frustration of Maikel Franco‘s season thus far: 26.5%. That’s the percentage of hard hit balls, according to Baseball Info Solutions, that he has hit this year, and that ranks him 151st out of 175 qualified hitters in MLB. It’s not that Franco is incapable of hitting the
Continue reading…

 

The Spin On Bailey’s Fastball

Andrew Bailey‘s four seam fastball is a remarkable pitch. At 2693 RPM, it leads all major league fastballs in spin rate. To quote directly from the Statcast glossary on the benefits of increased spin on a pitch: “As more data have become available, most experts have agreed that fastballs and breaking balls are tougher to
Continue reading…

 

Don’t Go Soft On Odubel

Among the reasons behind Odubel Herrera’s continued breakout, none is more notable than his improved plate discipline. The story is well known by now. He was a bit of a free swinger last year, offering at 35.1% of pitches outside of the strike zone. This year, he’s cut that down to 29.4%, which is right
Continue reading…

 

There’s Something Wrong with Jerad Eickhoff

Jerad Eickhoff has a problem: he is completely ineffective against left handed hitters. To this point, he’s been able to hide the extent of the issue by maintaining a respectable overall stat line, and he’s done this by keeping right handed batters in check. As bad as Eickhoff has been against lefties, he’s dominated righties
Continue reading…

 

Nola’s Other Pitch

Aaron Nola‘s curveball has received a lot of attention this year, and rightly so.  Nola has seemingly ridden an increased use of the pitch to raise his profile from solid starter to hearing whispers of “ace” just a month into the season. His curveball is undeniably excellent, possibly the best in the baseball, and now
Continue reading…