Crash Bag Vol. 22: Gods and Rap Battles

So last week we celebrated a win. This week this best I can do is celebrate that it is no longer May.

For now the best place to ask questions is on Twitter, either @ me (@Matt_Winkelman or @CrashburnAlley). But you can also reply in the comments here and I will will have some sort of better way for future mailbags.

@StelliniTweets: Can the Phanatic beat Mr. Met in a rap battle?

The answer is of course, but keep in mind his words are more of the visual style. Continue reading…

Crash Bag Vol. 21: Can the Phillies Develop Pitchers

The Phillies won a game!

For now the best place to ask questions is on Twitter, either @ me (@Matt_Winkelman or @CrashburnAlley). But you can also reply in the comments here and I will will have some sort of better way for future mailbags.

@babsell_champ: Do the Phillies have a pitching dev issue in the minors? Their top young starters Nola and Eickhoff came into the org fairly polished.

It is always difficult to figure out who is to blame for a lack of development. The coaching staff is always a good place to start, but sometimes guys lose or gain velocity, sometimes a pitcher’s big breakthrough is someone else showing them a pitch grip. It isn’t that it is all random, it is that it is all noisy. Another problem with judging all of this is the timeline, when the Phillies rebuild began in earnest, the system was essentially bare, so any homegrown pitchers are really just starting to reach to the upper minors. Before going into that group, let’s take a look at the minor league pitchers brought in during the various trades. Continue reading…

Crash Bag Vol. 20: Where Have All the Relievers Gone?

I wish I had good news about the Phillies to kick off the Crash Bag with this week, but the team is bad. Well other than Aaron Altherr and Tommy Joseph who are #3 and #1 respectively in wRC+ for the month of May.

For now the best place to ask questions is on Twitter, either @ me (@Matt_Winkelman or @CrashburnAlley). But you can also reply in the comments here and I will will have some sort of better way for future mailbags.

@JPallo26: What are your go-to statistic/analytic/breakdown sites and what do each do particularly well in transferring good info?

This is a great question because it really made me think about what sites I use and why I use it.

  • Baseball Reference – This is still the gold standard, especially after their re-skin. The Play Index continues to be the most powerful research and search tool. I love that on both the minor and major league level that you can highlight a set of games in the game log and get the stats over that time. Their splits pages are also much more robust than anything offered by another site.
  • Fangraphs – This is my quick and easy stats site. They have BB%, K%, and batted ball data in a place that is very easy to grab. The percentage stats are just a lot more informative and intuitive to me than the per 9 stats that Baseball Reference uses. The new Splits Tool is very good, and I have not had as much time to really play with it as much as I would like to. They also just added minor league batted ball data.
  • BrooksBaseball – I trust their velocity and zone measurements more than anyone on the internet. If I’m writing something major league pitching related, there is a high chance I opened up Brooksbaseball at some point (this includes hitters vs pitchers).
  • Baseball Prospectus – I like their prospect stuff, but on the statistical side they are doing the most cutting edge research. DRA is the best ERA estimator we have, and it really allows you to think about all of the factors that go into a pitcher’s success. I am still trying to wrap my head around all of the value and long term implications of their framing and pitch tunneling data, but it is research no one else is doing.
  • MLBFarm – This is Daren Willman’s essentially defunct minor league site, but it gives you minor league spray charts that you can customize over date ranges.
  • MILB Stat Pages – They aren’t fancy, but they update faster than any other site and have basic splits. The MILB pages alse have the most accurate transaction logs.
  • Baseball Savant – There is a lot of statcast data here that I don’t really trust and I don’t think is delivered in a way that makes it easy to do your own analysis on. However, their searches are good if you want to really dive into pitch location and usage.
  • Baseball America – Not really statistical, but if you have a subscription there is a ton of archival information on players. Also it normally has the demographic information that you won’t always find everywhere else.

Continue reading…

Crash Bag Vol. 19: Rapid Fire Answers

This week no one gave me a deep question to get lost in for half a day. Instead, this week you all delivered a bunch of quick, but good questions that inspired a lot of varied discussions. So I tried to answer as many questions as I could. Enjoy.

@John__Wetzel: If all players in the Phillies org reached their ceiling, what would be the starting lineup/rotation?

Lineup

2B Scott Kingery

SS J.P. Crawford

RF Aaron Altherr

CF Odubel Herrera

1B Rhys Hoskins

3B Maikel Franco

LF Nick Williams

C Jorge Alfaro

Rotation

SP Sixto Sanchez

SP Vince Velasquez

SP Aaron Nola

SP Franklyn Kilome

SP Seranthony Dominguez

The tough call was the outfield. This may seem like an overreaction to Altherr’s season so far, but he is uber athletic and now that he is showing more power, his ceiling his really high. I went with Nick Williams as the more the dynamic outfielder than Dylan Cozens. This scenario gives you 3 20-20 outfielders with plus gloves. It might seem strange to see Nola in the rotation, but if he locate everything and always command his curveball and changeup, he could be dominant. Continue reading…

Crash Bag Vol. 18: Trading Cesar

Thank you to Brad for doing this last week, and for being much funnier in the process than I am. It has been a really bad week of results for the major league club, so why not talk about trading their best player so far, and answer some other questions along the way as well.

For now the best place to ask questions is on Twitter, either @ me (@Matt_Winkelman or @CrashburnAlley). But you can also reply in the comments here and I will will have some sort of better way for future mailbags.

@mweintr: Should Cesar Hernandez be traded now, when his value is highest?

It has become trendy to to want teams to keep trading and churning players, always looking for value. This is not the worst strategy when you know you are going to be a non-contender for the remainder of a player’s contract. However, Cesar will turn 27 just over 2 weeks from now and still has 3 more years of control through arbitration. He is currently batting a BABIP influenced .336/.379/.517 with a career high strikeout rate and career low walk rate. History says his power should trend down, and his walk and strikeout rates should trend positively towards his career averages. He is on pace for a 6+ WAR season, which is probably unsustainable, but he should be able to repeat his 4 win season from a year ago, barring an unexpected collapse. That is a really good baseball player, and if you are going to trade someone of his caliber, with his level of remaining control, you are going to want a haul back. Continue reading…

Crashbag Vol. 17 – Do Not Seek The Treasure

Hey, it’s my first Crashbag. Hope it gives you a chuckle, or failing that, that at least you think I’m an idiot afterwards.

Mark Appel was a #1 overall pick and now someone has asked a question about whether he’ll have as good a career as a guy who posted one and one fifth career WAR (I averaged BRef and Fangraphs…for…science). That this is even a realistic question is just a brutal assessment of Appel. Harsh. Poor guy.

I liked Condrey in ’08 – he was reliable-ish, and threw a pretty good ground ball rate over 69 innings, (interesting), while lacking an out pitch that could have helped him out of some jams. Though even one more out would have ruined that “interesting” season, so… Continue reading…

Crash Bag, Vol. 16 – What Makes a Good Draft?

The Phillies have played 12 of 15 games against the Mets and Nationals and have come out of those games with a 5-7 record (and a positive run differential). Not bad for losing your starting left fielder, having a starting pitcher arm explode, and watching Jeanmar Gomez do exactly what we expected him to. This week deals with none of that. Instead, I go down a draft wormhole, and a questioner gets some moving advice.

Next week, Brad (@bxe1234) will be doing the Crash Bag while I am Philly.

@ethan_witte: What makes a draft class a success? Having multiple players secure multiple WAR over a career, or just one or two guys that are really good?
@JesusZoidberg: If you get a prospect from a draft, and then trade him for a legit player, but the prospect fails, is that a bad pick(draft)?

I have two different definitions for the minimum for a successful draft class. The first is that it gets you an above average regular either from the players in it or in trade. The second is that it gets you an average regular and some ancillary pieces. If you get a first division regular or borderline all-star and nothing else, that is a success. If all you get is a bunch of bench players or middle relievers, that is not a successful draft, but it is also not a complete waste. With that in mind, I went back 10 years to go through the 2007 to 2014 drafts, since the 2015 and 2016 drafts have barely had time to play and grow. For each class I have divided it into players who reached the majors, notable prospects, players still in the minors, and players traded. Continue reading…

Crash Bag, Vol. 15 – Is Ben Davis a Hot Dog?

Everyone have a great weekend, as the weather heats up and the Phillies play the Nationals and Mets every season until the end of time.

For now the best place to ask questions is on Twitter, either @ me (@Matt_Winkelman or @CrashburnAlley). But you can also reply in the comments here and I will will have some sort of better way for future mailbags.

@KeithWinder: If each CSN Phillies broadcaster was a backyard bbq food item, what would they be?

I may have a low opinion of the Phillies booth, which is one of the worst in the league. Last year they were watchable about 50% of the time (when Matt Stairs was on), and it has only gone downhill from there. Continue reading…

Crash Bag, Vol. 14: Can the IronPigs Beat the Phillies?

The major league season is underway and the Phillies don’t look great once again (it has also only been 4 games, so let’s not panic). But it is never too early to ask questions about who is part of the future or where the Phanatic should play defensively.

Before getting into the questions, if you are feeling depressed, just follow this link and feel better.

For now the best place to ask questions is on Twitter, either @ me (@Matt_Winkelman or @CrashburnAlley). But you can also reply in the comments here and I will will have some sort of better way for future mailbags.

@RubyTheTreat: If you were to invest in a Phils shirsey today, what would your top 5 choices be? Continue reading…

Crash Bag, Vol. 13: Smooth Center Fielders

By this time next week the Phillies could already have lost many games, but for now they are undefeated in games that matter. With the 25 man roster set, all we have to look forward to this weekend is minor league rosters and praying that no one gets hurt before the opening day ace-off between Jeremy Hellickson and Scott Feldman.

For now the best place to ask questions is on Twitter, either @ me (@Matt_Winkelman or @CrashburnAlley). But you can also reply in the comments here and I will will have some sort of better way for future mailbags.

@Long_Drive: In your opinion do we have any kids on the farm that reach the majors at age 21 or below?

Reaching the majors by your age 21 season (it is much harder to report on actual age at the time of call up) usually means one of two things. You are either really good, or you got off to a young start. Since the 2006 season, 8 players made it to the majors by age 19, 31 by age 20, and 115 by age 21. Now some of these players only came up for a brief cup of coffee, others are Mike Trout. But what got me interested is that the only Phillie on the list was Maikel Franco, but he had actually turned 22 by the time he was promoted. A lot of this was a combination of bad drafting by the Phillies, coupled with trading everyone away. So who could be the next guy to do it? Here are the players 21 or younger in my top 30 prospects: Mickey Moniak (18), Sixto Sanchez (18), Franklyn Kilome (21), Cornelius Randolph (19), Adonis Medina (20), Kevin Gowdy (19), Arquimedez Gamboa (19), Jhailyn Ortiz (18), Daniel Brito (19), Cole Stobbe (19), Carlos Tocci (21), Bailey Falter (19), and JoJo Romero (20). Continue reading…