Crash Bag #8: Mini Post-Draft Crash Bag

The MLB Draft happened this week, so without time for a massive mailbag you all answered the call for a few good questions.

@Lead_FarmerSD: Is Bohm the safest first round pick the Phillies have made since Nola?

The answer is yes and it isn’t particularly close, but that is boring, so I decided to rank the safeness of Phillies 1st round picks back to 2000 when the Phillies took Chase Utley. These are at the time of the draft, and I am going safe as safest to be an everyday major leaguer. Continue reading…

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 www.thehotline.org/ (1-800-799-7233). Continue reading…

Crash Bag #6: The Young Guys Might be Fine

Sorry for not writing much. I don’t have any excuses, so here is your questions answered.

@andrewrnnier: Can they continue to find at bats for everyone/does the early success of Cesar make him more appealing in a trade thereby freeing up regular at bats for kingery

@andrewrnnier: I guess the better question should have been, given the contract extension and number of at bats Kingery has gotten in the first two weeks, what are the long term ramifications? Is he truly going to be a super utility who plays 4-5 times a week until Cesar moves on?

@DoctorSchoppe: How’s your gut feeling on Caesar holding up in this young season? How about we let em play. JP has the glove to be an everyday regular and his floor is above Galvis. Next question. #philliestalk

I am just going to combine these all kind of together. I think they can continue to balance the playing time. We have already seen guys get hot, guys get cold, and we have yet to see anyone get injured. Odds are at some point that someone is going to get banged up, at which point having their current depth will make the loss much less painful. Continue reading…

Crash Bag #5: Investing in Prospects

Did you know the Phillies signed Jake Arrieta this week, because they did. It means there are no questions this week about whether the Phillies should sign Jake Arrieta. Instead this week I go on a tangent about paying minor leaguers. Also look for exciting site developments next week.

@andrew_pantano: What would be the first steps to creating a fair-pay minor league system?

Before getting into logistics, I want to make a few things clear. Minor leaguers are only paid during the season so no offseason or spring training. Minor leaguers are not subject to minimum wage laws. The salaries of minor leaguers are paid by the major league club and not the minor league team. College baseball rarely give out full scholarships due to limits on number of scholarships per team. Continue reading…

Crash Bag #4: Desi Relaford is Salty

In case you hadn’t heard, Desi Relaford thinks Phillies fans are trash. Here’s a counterpoint: Desi Relaford is trash. In parts of five seasons with the Phillies, Relaford came to the plate 1189 times and produced a 66 OPS+. In every single season Relaford was with the Phillies, he was below replacement level.

Here are his WAR totals with the Phillies: -2.0 fWAR and -1.8 bWAR. I have produced exactly 0.0 fWAR and 0.0 bWAR for the Phillies. Therefore, it’s logical to conclude that I’m a better  baseball player than Desi Relaford.

In short, Desi Relaford is a bum and deserves to be booed. Continue reading…

Crash Bag Volume #3: A Spring Training Lightning Round

None of the questions this week had deep answers needed, so I just answered them all. A big thank you to everyone who applied to write here. I will get back to you this weekend, and for the rest of you I am excited about some of the new voices we may add to the site.

@derrick_gentner: What’s your opening day lineup?

2B Cesar Hernandez
1B Carlos Santana
LF Rhys Hoskins
RF Nick Williams (assuming RH starter for Braves)
CF Odubel Herrera
3B Maikel Franco
SS J.P. Crawford
C Jorge Alfaro
SP Aaron Nola

I could see Herrera #2 and moving everyone down, but I like the OBP of the 1-2-3. Continue reading…

Crash Bag Volume #2: The Third Base Problem

There is currently a baseball game playing on a screen in front of me. We are still 5 weeks from opening day, thus we enter a time of questions and praying for health.

@KRAM209: It seems like the Phillies have had trouble finding 3B prospects of late.  Why?  What do you think they should do differently?

Here are the third basemen the Phillies have drafted with day 1 or 2 picks (or paid that type of money in bonus to) in recent years. I am using their intended pro position, not their pre-draft or first year position.

  • Jake Scheiner (4th rd, 2017, Jr) – It is still really early on Scheiner who might actually be a 2B.
  • Jake Holmes (11th rd, 2017, HS) – Holmes had a solid debut and is just starting to move over from SS.
  • Cole Stobbe (3rd rd, 2016, HS) – Stobbe had a good first year and then just failed to recognize off speed pitches and solid out his contact for power in Williamsport.
  • Luke Williams (3rd rd, 2015, HS) – Williams was always a weird fit at third. He has below average power, plus speed, and a good glove. He just hasn’t hit much.
  • Josh Tobias (10th rd, 2015, Sr) – Moved to 2B and traded to Boston for Buchholz.
  • Jan Hernandez (3rd rd, 2013, HS) – Hernandez has never shown a good approach and has lately struggled to hit righties. The Phillies moved him to RF to add flexibility last year and he took the position quickly.
  • Trey Williams (7th rd, 2013, JC) – Williams just never hit in his two year in pro ball.
  • Zach Green (3rd rd, 2012, HS) – Green showed big time power, but his approach has been poor and his swing stiff. Wrist and other injuries have limited his playing time over the years.
  • Harold Martinez (2nd rd, 2011, Jr) – Martinez had big power as a college freshman and it never came back. He hung around as a good org hitter until 2017.
  • Cody Asche (4th rd, 2011, Jr) – Asche was never a great defender at third, but he showed enough hit tool to be a second division regular at 3rd. His hit tool fell apart when he reached the majors.
  • Mitch Walding (5th rd, 2011, HS) – Walding had (and still has) a beautiful left handed swing. It took until 2016 for him to show any power. Had a breakout year of sorts in 2017 at age 24 in AA. He has a lot of swing and miss in his game, but is a good defender and potential 4 corner utility bat.

Continue reading…

Crash Bag S2018 Volume #1: Baseball Is Back

In just under a week the Phillies will be playing their first baseball game of the year as they try to not lose to a bunch of college students. Until then it is time for fuzzy pictures of players stretching, worry about the state of the rotation, and apparently a picture of my cat.

@DaleACooke: I love Roman Quinn at SS bc elevates flexibility joe Maddon-esque. Are Phillies looking to others for this (Altherr, Williams,Kingery)?

I want to touch on Quinn first. He has not played SS since 2014, and he wasn’t amazing at the position back then. Quinn is not going to be the primary infield backup. However, if the Phillies run with only 4 bench players and one of them is Altherr/Williams and another is a catcher, that leaves two spots left, one of which must play infield. If you ever want to use that hitter as a hitter (say a defensive replacement, pinch hitter, punch runner), then you need that other player to be able to play shortstop if everyone gets hurt. If Quinn can be that, then he can be that 4th bench player. Continue reading…

Crash Bag Vol. 45 – Poetry And Prospects And Punters (Wait…Quarterbacks, Not Punters)

I greet you with this query from Poet Laureate of The Phils Blogosphere:

My response to this reference to an interesting quote from our new field manager, is a verse for that February day when spring returns to Clearwater, Florida, while the rest of us still slowly move out of winter.

SOIL

As frost wanes
As snow turns to rain
We push through the pains of stagnation
From a long winter spent in shelter
In stillness
Perhaps apathy

In the north
Still-chattering teeth
Remains of a wreath dying on a door
Remains of the season of mirth and cheer
From the midst of the season of death and despair

But in the south
The glorious south
The soil is prepared
Rich
Groomed
The whitest chalk in the straightest lines
The maple and the ash
The leather
The rosin
The reddest of thread
Stitched twice all around the orb

Rejuvenation lurks!

But from now
Until that day
When givers and takers return to their fields
We have hope
Hope
For a man both strong and agile
Prince of the Chesapeake
But for just one spin ‘round the sun
The young flame coveted
Shall not depart
Maybe for like Franklyn Kilome or something, IDK

Do you all think the end needs work? Maybe a little.

Continue reading…

Crash Bag Vol. 44 – The Best Phillies Rotation

This week was a quiet one if you weren’t Jerry Dipoto despite it being the GM’s meetings. So with that, some questions.

@MichaelStubel: You’re tasked with putting together a rotation comprised of Phillies starters from the post-integration era. Who makes the cut?

I laid some rules for this exercise before starting.

  • The pitcher had to spend some of their prime with the Phillies, I couldn’t use Pedro’s prime just because he was on the 2009 Phillies.
  • I was looking for an average prime era season from the pitcher, not just a one year outlier.
  • I get the pitcher vs the batters of their era. I didn’t want to figure out Robin Roberts vs 2010’s era batters.

My first search was to find the top single season pitcher bWAR for Phillies pitchers to get a list of candidates. Then to remove innings as a driver I sorted it by ERA+ as well to get a list of candidates: Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts, Roy Halladay, Jim Bunning, Cliff Lee, Chris Short, Cole Hamels, and Curt Schilling. Continue reading…