Crashbag Vol. Something: Seems To Me We’ve Lost Count

Let’s start with one from in-house.


Maybe I could come up with something. Maybe. I’ll need to spin that “d” and cover over part of it to make an “F”, I think.


Damn, a baseball question? Ok, I guess. Cesar Hernandez sure did turn himself into a player, eh? I will admit I assumed he would never amount to more than a non-shortstop bench player, and those jobs are hard to find if you also lack any power, which I assumed he always would. But he’s racked up nearly 7 fWAR over the last two years, even with some missed time this season. His speed has still helped him plenty, even if he hasn’t been an overwhelming threat to steal – he’s 13/16 this year, much better than his 17/28 last year. He’s MLB Top Ten in infield hits and Fangraphs’ speed stat, and led the league in triples in 2016.

But what to do with another potential first-division starter in Scott Kingery waiting behind him? One of them will have to go, and I think it’s obvious that Cesar is the choice right now. His value this offseason, with 4 years of control remaining, will likely never be higher. I’m far from an expert on “what kind of return do you get from…”, but assume with all their high-minors talent, the Phils are looking for big leaguers to fill rotation spots or back-end bullpen roles, and/or minor leaguers who don’t need 40-man roster spots yet. However the second base market shakes out this offseason, Cesar is a mid-first division guy. That’s an upgrade for a lot of teams.

“Homicide: Life On The Street” was a really good show. That’s as close to Law and Order as I get. David Simon has had his bad moments in public, but he’s been connected to some truly fine television, including writing for Homicide, plus producing and writing for “The Corner”, “The Wire” (has anyone ever seen that one? Anyone?) and the truly remarkable HBO miniseries “Show Me A Hero”.

See how I pivoted away from the question about Law and Order to get to a thing about Oscar Isaac? He’s dreamy, folks.

Let me be clear: this would rule no matter who among position players did it, and getting hit in the junk is always going to hurt. But we saw Jorge Alfaro hit 114 mph on his first big league homer this week. That plus he’s “Mexican”, which would irk Trump a little extra, and I think we’ve got our man. (Alfaro’s Colombian, btw, but do we think Trump would bother to learn the difference, or would he just yell “MS-13!” at him? 99% sure it’s the latter.)

I guess the answer is Adele. I very much liked 19 and 21. Prior to that, you’d have to go back to Jack Johnson’s first couple records or maybe John Mayer to find someone truly mainstream who wasn’t also “from the 70s”, i.e. liking Tom Petty’s “Last DJ” or the like.

Currently, I absolutely love that new Lorde LP. Not sure she’s like, mainstream, mainstream, though she has had some big hits. Aside from that, does Pinegrove count as mainstream? Probably not.

I have been through a lot of musical tastes in my lifetime. Classic rock and some modern rock before I got real seriously into blues music, which faded some in college as I got more into indie rock and lots of old soul music, and some underground hip hop.

After school, I got into a long rut of only really listening to whatever I already had, plus whatever sterile folk-rock type guitar singer/songwriter was on Austin City Limits that season. Amos Lee was a big thing for a while, as was Ben Harper and the aforementioned Jack Johnson. Then a few years ago, James from PhuturePhillies.com and a bunch of the original Crashburn people and other Twitter “notables” were regularly using a social music site called turntable.fm (RIP), and I got back into indie rock and indie folk through the music others were sharing. So blame Paul Boyé, basically, for my current musical tastes. And hey, look, a segue.

I’m going to preface this by saying there is basically no one from Crashburn’s past or present that I think is anything like any of the mostly vile beings that occupy the inner circle of Donald Trump’s cabinet and senior staff. Except Adam. (Just bustin’ balls, folks). I will keep it to long-gone alumni so as to mitigate the rage in our current email threads.

Bill Baer is rumored to be a robot or a cyborg or something, and rumored to still live in his parents’ basement, and I think both of those things are likely true of HHS Secretary Tom Price.

Mike Baumann has been known to weave elaborate yarns just to make a pun. Sean Spicer has been known to weave elaborate yarns just to avoid answering a direct question. So there you go. Congrats, Mike.

On social media the other day, Paul Boyé claimed a new found skill: voiceovers. Who would you rather have telling you all about the ins and outs of your company’s HR policies than Jared Kushner. Example:

 

Ryan Sommers is Trump himself, I think, because both get all worked up on Twitter.

And I believe Eric Longenhagen could actually replace Betsy DeVos, as he knows more about high school and college kids than she does.

Quick hits:

It’s “lots”. He’s no different than a lot of power hitters. He pulls the ball on the ground. If he were a lefty teams would shift the hell out of him.

Source: FanGraphs

You don’t give up on Maikel Franco until you have a superior option. There’s not one in the minors right now, but come next off-season *cough* *Machado* *cough* they could sign Manny Machado. Weird that I coughed that and then just said it.

Tocci is playing himself into a 40-man spot and the conversation for fourth outfielder for the foreseeable future behind incumbents Herrera, Altherr and Williams. At some point, we’ll likely see Roman Quinn healthy again and battling for the same playing time.

Ok, all, that’s it. Don’t forget to kick a Nazi if you see one. Kick them hard. They are a threat to public safety just by showing up in public as a Nazi, and they deserve no quarter on our streets or in our public spaces. Tell them to crawl back in their hole and kick them. Bye.

Dutch

Eleven days ago, the Philadelphia Phillies family lost #10. Not only was Darren Daulton the heart and soul of the unforgettable 1993 World Series run, he was probably the best catcher in Phillies franchise history. To commemorate and honor Dutch, I collaborated with fellow Crashburn old-timer Dave Tomar.

Your general impressions of Darren Daulton?

Dave: My impression of Darren Daulton is a function of my experience as a lifelong Phillies fan. I was born in early 1980, so I was a drooling blob when the team won its first World Series. I was there, so it’s etched somewhere in my psyche, but I don’t remember it. What I remember most from my childhood is futility, the season-in/season-out assurance that the Phillies would be mere background noise every summer, and forgotten by autumn.

So what did that mean if you were a diehard fan, if you loved the team but never dared let yourself dream of success? You had to find the personalities and love them, root for them, share their pain at another season ended in vain.

Nobody during that era of futility was more worthy of our love or adulation than Daulton. He came up in 1983 and inherited team leadership when Mike Schmidt retired in 1989. It would take a few summers (and honestly, a bunch of steroids) for Daulton to reach his full potential. He banged out his first All Star season in 1992, a year in which the Phillies lost 92 games and finished 26 out of first. If 162 games is a brutal test of endurance for a player on a losing team, you couldn’t tell by watching Daulton. He led like a superstar on a team of middling to mediocre talent. And he did it through nine knee surgeries. Nine knee surgeries.

If I have only one takeaway from this fact, it’s that Daulton was a straight-up badass. Continue reading…

Phillies Option Nick Pivetta In Smart Piece of Roster Management

Today vs the Padres Nick Pivetta struck out 11 Padres in 5+ innings. It wasn’t the sharpest day ever as he walked 3 and let the Padres steal all of the bases. It was still an encouraging start for a rotation that has not been sharp of late. But this happened.

On the surface this is odd as the Phillies cannot recall an optioned player for 10 days unless it is to replace an injured player, but it is actually a sneaky little bit of roster manipulation. Nick Pivetta’s next start would be scheduled for Tuesday August 22nd. The Phillies have a double header vs the Marlins on Tuesday August 22nd. They also have an off day on Monday August 21. That means Thursday’s starter Aaron Nola can pitch a game of the double header. More important than that is that the Phillies can call up a 26th man for one game of the double header. That player is not subject to the 10 day restriction. This means the Phillies can recall Pivetta on Tuesday to make his normal start. In the mean time they would get another bullpen arm for the Giants series over the weekend (or another bat with Odubel ailing).

The Phillies still have a problem on August 26th vs the Cubs, but they could call someone up and then resolve all the 10 day restrictions on September 1 when the rosters expand.

Phillies Are Having Second Half Pitching Problems

Young pitching was supposed to be a strength of the Phillies this season, but as we all know, pitching can be unpredictable. As of right now, the Phillies have a team ERA of 4.56 on the season, which is good for 20th in baseball. On a more granular basis, their starters are actually 17th in baseball, and their relievers are 23rd. The reasons for these declines are many and include injuries, trades, and just being bad. However, baseball does not accept excuses in place of starts, so the Phillies still have to figure out a pitching staff to get through the end of the season. So how do you do that when you don’t have any veterans and you aren’t very good?

The one pitcher in all of this that the Phillies don’t have to worry about is Aaron Nola. In the second half he has a 1.85 ERA, and in 10 starts since allowing 5 runs to Arizona on June 16, he has a 1.71 ERA over 68.1 innings.

The other pitcher who has rejoined that category is Jerad Eickhoff. He hasn’t been as dominant as Nola, but in his 7 starts since returning from the DL, he has a 3.18 ERA over 39.2 innings. He is no longer hemorrhaging home runs, and his strikeout rate is back up as well. Continue reading…

Crash Bag Vol. 32: The Infield of the Future and Boozin’ With Phillies

I would like to start this Crash Bag off by revisiting my well-thought-out, certainly-not-off-the-cuff Bobble-WorthinessTM rankings from a few Crash Bags ago. With Odubel Herrera’s recent sizzlin’ hot streak, he’s on pace for nearly four wins this season. By my criteria from that post, Herrera is on pace to be legitimately Bobble-WorthyTM next season. PUT IT ON THE SCHEDULE, PHILLIES.

Stay tuned for more hard-hitting bobblehead analysis.

Continue reading…

Phillies Call Up Rhys Hoskins

Earlier this week the Phillies announced they were moving their best pure hitting prospect from first base to left field to accommodate Tommy Joseph staying at first base. I have a lot of thoughts about what the move means strategically, but what is done is done. What that move does mean is that the Phillies are finally promoting Rhys Hoskins, just as an outfielder and not a first baseman. For the second year in a row Hoskins is one of the best hitters in minor league baseball, and this time he is doing it in a more neutral environment as opposed to the hitting paradise that is Reading.

Without talking about position or league context, we need to talk about Hoskins the baseball player. At the plate Hoskins features a simple swing, he has a bit of a leg kick, but overall is swing is quiet. He gets good loft with it, but it also isn’t a complete uppercut. Most of his contact is going to be to the pull side, but he does have the power to go the opposite way. When he first came up there were a lot of questions about his raw power, and they are mostly fair as his power is probably plus, maybe it is plus plus. What he has done incredibly well over the years is to refine his approach and pitch recognition. This has allowed him to get the most out of his raw tools, and so while his raw power doesn’t measure up to Dylan Cozens, he is able to match him in actualized production. Hoskins is mostly a fastball hitter, but he will crush mistakes over the plate. He has less frequently expanded the strike zone in the upper levels, but can still chase breaking balls. The complete package is one fairly light on weaknesses. This season he has reverse platoon splits, but only 123 PAs against LHPs so it is hard to read too much into his relative struggles vs them, given that he crushed them in 2016. This year he has walked more than he has struck out vs RHPs which is a stark improvement on last season where he had a 50 to 97 walk to strikeout rate vs same side pitching. Overall he should be an average hitter (.260-.270) with a good on base percentage, and he has the power to hit 30+ home runs a year with an equal amount of doubles. He might have a bit more ceiling than that if he can maintain his AAA strikeout rate, but I would expect it to regress back towards 20% from the 15.8% it is at right now. Continue reading…

A 30 Game Nick Williams Check Up

On June 30th the Phillies finally called up a major hitting prospect. Since then, Nick Williams has hit .289/.325/.535 in the majors with 5 home runs in his 30 games. Williams’ arrival in the majors coincided with an improvement in the Phillies offense (it turns out everyone in the lineup was better in July). With Aaron Altherr’s repeated injuries, Williams looks to have a hold on an outfield spot for the rest of the season. So now 30 games into his season, how is Nick Williams holding up? Continue reading…

Crash Bag Vol. 31: Looking Back 3 Years

The trade deadline is over, and the Phillies traded nearly everyone they could and got some stuff back. The team is still bad, and a sweep at the hands of the Angels reinforced that the bullpen is a major problem and the starting pitching is shaky on days when Aaron Nola doesn’t pitch. But, let’s just forget about all of that and take a step back in time to talk about some prospects and some of your other questions this week.

@PaulSocolar: Your 2014 prspct list led w Crawford-Nola-Franco; top 10 also had Biddle-Sandberg-Dugan. Where would those 3s 2014 selves be on current list

I am just going to go for the whole list and not just the groupings of 3. For those that want to read 3 year old wrong opinions, here is the link, but for those with less time, here is my 2014 midseason top 10 (which I have no clue why I wrote it on June 24).

  1. J.P. Crawford
  2. Aaron Nola
  3. Maikel Franco
  4. Roman Quinn
  5. Jesse Biddle
  6. Deivi Grullon
  7. Cord Sandberg
  8. Carlos Tocci
  9. Kelly Dugan
  10. Aaron Altherr

Continue reading…

Crash Bag Vol. 30: The Next Great Phillies Team

Late last week, there was word from the front office that the Crash Bag was involved in a potential trade, and so it was pulled from its regularly scheduled appearance on Friday. But the buyers backed out at the last minute to pursue a less costly upgrade. Consider this post safe for now. Although there are still a few hours before the deadline.

joelrineer: If you had to pick 3 of Altherr, Herrera, Quinn, Williams, Cozens, Tocci, Randolph, Moniak, Haseley who would you take and why?

I take the two birds in hand. Herrera and Altherr are both good players, and it would not shock me to see either post a 5+ WAR season at some point in the future. The Phillies need good position player talent and these two fit that description. It would take a clear cut superstar to supplant either one and I don’t see that among the rest of the players listed.

As to those players and the coveted third spot, here is what we are considering.

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…