Monday Round Table (2/19): Spring Training Is Here

Today is the first day of full squad workouts in Clearwater. That means the winter is over and baseball can begin, or at least something like that. With that in mind I asked the writers for some roster predictions and other questions heading into a week of stretching and drills.

Who will be the Phillies #5 starter?

Adam: I really hope it’ll be Nick Pivetta because that means someone else has slotted in above him. I’m still, perhaps somewhat foolishly, holding out hope the Phillies will sign Jake Arrieta to a four-year, $22.5M AAV deal with a player option and incentives. If they don’t, then I suppose I’ll put money on Ben Lively, who somehow became a quality start machine even though he can’t strike out anybody. Continue reading…

2017 Phillies Report Card: J.P. Crawford

J.P. Crawford played some baseball in the majors last year. There’s not a lot of #analysis to do with 87 plate appearances, but the real story is that Crawford finally made it to Philadelphia and showed he could handle himself at the highest level. In that limited playing time last September, Crawford displayed the three core aspects of his game that carried him from Lakewood High through the Phillies’ minor league system: an ability to get on base, control of the strike zone, and excellent defense. 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…

2017 Phillies Report Card: Freddy Galvis

I haven’t been particularly kind to Freddy Galvis in the past on this site, but I think I’m still going to miss him a little bit in 2018. El Falcon’s 2017 season turned out to be his last one in red pinstripes, as he’s now a San Diego Father. Freed from the burden of having to evaluate Galvis in the context of J.P. Crawford, I want to take a fresh look at Freddy and see if time, distance, and a twinge of nostalgia can change my mind.

In 2017, at age 27 Freddy Galvis probably had his most complete season as a major leaguer. He set single-season career bests in games played (162), plate appearances (663), hits (155), doubles (29), triples (6), runs (71), walk rate (6.8%), OBP (.309), wOBA (.298), and wRC+ (80). From that standpoint alone I give him full marks, and considering the value of reliability (he played literally every day) and nearly top tier fielding at shortstop, Galvis probably earned something like a C grade. On the other hand, topping out at a .309 OBP is Exhibit A for my general lack of interest in Galvis. Continue reading…

2017 Phillies Report Card: César Hernández

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I’ve had an up and down opinion of César Hernández since his debut – originally I thought he was on his way to being the kind of player he finally became, but in between I was…kind of mean to him on this here website.

I thought for most of 2016 that César Hernández was a fake. A fraud. A phony, playing the role of a big league second baseman, and at some point, his mound-dwelling counterparts would expose him like so many skinny middling one-half-of-the-middle-of-the infielders are exposed much earlier on in their pro careers. But in 2017 César Hernández proved he wasn’t an imposter, but rather a capable hitter with good enough skills elsewhere to make him an easy first-division second baseman. This all was allowed to unfold as it did, in part because of a little used roster tool – THE FOURTH OPTION *50s B-Horror-Movie sound effect*.

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.


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
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
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…

Tommy Hunter and the 8 Man Bullpen

Another day, another reliever contract for the Phillies. Yesterday the Phillies reportedly agreed to a 2 year $18M deal with free agent right hander Tommy Hunter.  The 31 year old Hunter has been an effective reliever for many year, but last year went to a new level with the Tampa Bay Rays as his strikeout rate shot up. Hunter started throwing his fastball less and harder while at the same time throwing more of his cutter which was around 94 instead of it’s previous 90. With his K% up over 10% on 2016, Hunter was able to post a 2.61 ERA on the season.

Hunter on his own is a solid addition. He isn’t a closer, and he probably isn’t a set up guy for the Phillies, but he should give Gabe Kapler another mid innings arm. This brings us to something that Matt Gelb mentioned yesterday. The Phillies are strongly thinking about going with an 8 man bullpen. In general I am opposed to 8 man bullpens because they leave a team’s bench a bit thin, but in this case the Phillies’ personnel was already leaning heavy towards this strategy. Continue reading…

Phillies Bring Back Pat Neshek and Other Winter Meeting Rumblings

The big news in the baseball world over the past few days is the Phillies bringing back right handed reliever Pat Neshek on what is reportedly a 2 year $16M deal with a team option for a 3rd year. Neshek was the Phillies lone All-Star last year before being traded to Colorado for Jose Gomez, J.D. Hammer, and Alejandro Requena at the deadline. Between the two teams Neshek pitched 62.1 innings with a 1.59 ERA. This deal covers Neshek’s age 37 and 38 seasons, but he has also been very good into his 30s which alleviates some of the concerns. The Phillies won’t be counting on Neshek to repeat his 2017 season, nor are they getting him to be their closer, but the move helps stabilize a Phillies bullpen on the rise. Neshek will rejoin the bullpen core of Hector Neris and Edubray Ramos as well as 2017 breakouts Adam Morgan and Luis Garcia. As of right now it looks like Hoby Milner will join them with the last spot either being filled with another FA acquisition or an internal option like Victor Arano, Yacksel Rios, Ricardo Pinto, or any other starter moving to the bullpen. It isn’t an elite level bullpen, but if Garcia and Morgan can repeat their 2017 seasons, it has the upside to be very good. This might end up a bit of a monetary overpay, but Neshek was very good last year and liked his time with the Phillies, and even if it goes south the Phillies have solidified up the late innings. Continue reading…

MLB Non-Tender Deadline

By 8pm ET today teams must choose whether to tender contracts to their arbitration eligible players (and pre-arbitration eligible players). For some teams today is about what they can afford to keep on their roster, but the Phillies only have Odubel Herrera on their roster with a guaranteed contract. This means today is about the 40 man roster and what players the Phillies want to make some level of commitment to. Here are the players affected by today’s decisions as well as MLBTradeRumor’s estimated arbitration salary.

  • Freddy Galvis – $7.4M (Arb 3)
  • Cesar Hernandez – $4.7M (Arb 2, Super 2)
  • Cameron Rupp – $2.1M (Arb 1)
  • Luis Garcia – $1.4M (Arb 1)
  • Maikel Franco – $3.6M (Arb 1, Super 2)

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…