Guest Post: The Phillies Outfield Sideshow

By Dan Keely

Before we get started, I should mention that this is more an exploratory piece than an exposition. If you’re looking for a cause and solution, stop here. Likewise, if you want hope for the future I am not offering that here. With that said, let’s delve into the depressing state of the Phillies outfield in recent years.

Since 2010, the Phillies have had 27 different players patrol one of the outfield spots during a game. Some have been significant contributors, but most have been spot/emergency starters or fliers taken by the front office in the hopes of finding a diamond among the garbage. Notably, though, only eight of these players have accrued more than 500 PA in that time span, attesting to the spinning door that has been the Phillies attempt to field a starting outfield.

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It’s Minor League Recap Season!!!

On Tuesday, Jeff Moore from Baseball Prospectus and MLB Prospect Watch posted, to the latter site, his Organizational Recap of the Phillies 2014 Minor League Season. He highlighted J.P. Crawford, Jesse Biddle, Maikel Franco, Willians Astudillo and Aaron Nola for various positive, and in Biddle’s case, negative reasons. With that in mind, I’d like to take some time to talk about a bunch of deeper Phillies high and low lights that someone from a national publication might not find interesting enough to mention, but that you ought to know about or I wanted to mention in order to make a joke.

Best Surprise/Still Most Confusing:

Brian PointerI talked about Pointer extensively earlier in the year on this site, when he was white hot. He cooled a bit but finished strong, capping off a monster of a second half with a really solid .866 OPS in August, to finish with a wRC+ of 117 at age 22 in a league with plenty of 22-year-olds. His K Rate is a big issue in his game, as is whether the bat profiles in a corner OF spot. My big issue remains that I have seen no scouting on him all year and he’s not slated to play in the Arizona Fall League or even the Florida Instructional League (FIL). So for now, I will pretend like I’ve seen a whole mess of scouting on him and it’s all good. Sometimes fooling myself is just easier than trying to put logic to my gut feelings. I am not ashamed.

Best Comeback:

Roman Quinn – This is a tough category, as two well known guys made strides after significant injuries. Willians “ISOed Less Than Erick Aybar” Astudillo came back from knee surgery to have a fine year at the plate, and caught a fair number of games, (which is huge for his value), but really, Quinn has to be the pick here. Continue reading…

Submit A Fan Scouting Report for the Phillies

Submit A Fan Scouting Report for the Phillies

Every year, Tom Tango enlists fans to submit their own defensive evaluations of the players they watch the most. It’s that time of year again, and he could use some more Phillies-related evaluations. Here’s what Tango is looking for:

I want you to tell me what your eyes see. I want you to tell me how good or bad a fielder is. Go down, and start selecting the team(s) that you watch all the time. For any player that you’ve seen play in at least 10 games in 2014, I want you to judge his performance in 7 specific fielding categories.

If you don’t have an opinion on a particular characteristic of that player, then go on to the next characteristic for that player. This applies especially for you TV watchers, and you can’t tell how well Peter Bourjos can read the ball off the bat.

And, most importantly, do not, absolutely do not, look at any numbers. Don’t look at his fielding percentage, range factor, zone rating, UZR, or anything else that someone else is telling you. I just want you to rely on your eyes. You are the scout. I need you to rely completely on your own observations.

If you have the time, go here and submit some evaluations.

Jerome Williams Proving to be A Good Find for the Phillies

Starter Jerome Williams dominated the San Diego Padres last night, holding them to just one unearned run over 7 2/3 innings en route to a 1-0 loss. The right-hander surrendered just three hits and walked two while striking out six. Now with seven starts as a Phillie under his belt, Williams sports a 2.84 ERA over 44 1/3 innings.

It’s a surprising performance for Williams over the past month and a half, as he owns a career 4.43 ERA and posted a combined 6.71 ERA in 26 relief appearances with the Texas Rangers and two starts with the Houston Astros. How legitimate is his success and is he worth keeping around in 2015?

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Come Back, Hunter Pence

In case you’ve wondered why posting has slowed to a crawl here lately, it’s because I’ve been battling the flu over the last few days. Not out of the woods yet. Enjoy some filler content in the meantime. This is a cheesy rap video involving former Phillie Hunter Pence and the #HunterPenceSigns hashtag that popped up on social media recently.

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Cole Hamels Continues Dominating

Cole Hamels was on point once again, limiting the Miami Marlins (though Giancarlo Stanton-less) to one run over seven innings last night. He allowed nine hits and walked one while striking out six. As usual, though, the Phillies gave him little run support and didn’t get the win until Cody Asche broke a 1-1 tie with a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the 10th inning.

Hamels has now gone at least five innings and allowed three or fewer runs in 20 consecutive starts, setting a modern Phillies record as Paul Boye pointed out on Twitter. The streak dates back to June 1. Hamels also now has the third-best ERA in the National League. If Hamels hadn’t missed four April starts — and if Clayton Kershaw didn’t exist — he would be a legitimate contender for the National League Cy Young award.

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Domonic Brown’s Improved Second Half

There is no doubt that the 2014 season is one Domonic Brown will want to forget. That said, much of his statistical struggles can be traced to a truly horrific May at the plate. His 40 OPS+ that month indicates that his offensive production was 60% worse than that of an average MLB player.

Split PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS sOPS+
April/March 105 8 24 3 0 1 10 9 18 .253 .314 .316 .630 80
May 95 7 13 3 1 3 17 6 18 .146 .200 .303 .503 40
June 106 11 25 5 0 1 11 7 19 .260 .302 .344 .646 86
July 75 8 19 4 0 2 12 4 15 .268 .307 .408 .715 103
August 61 4 15 6 0 1 8 4 12 .263 .311 .421 .733 110
Sept/Oct 22 5 3 0 0 1 1 2 1 .158 .273 .316 .589 67
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/10/2014.

After his disastrous May, Brown’s numbers have been on an upward trajectory. (*Warning: Arbitrary Endpoints Ahead*) His slash line since July 1st: .252/.304/.401. While a .705 OPS doesn’t represent a player tearing it up, it’s been good for a .313 wOBA and 98 wRC+, indicating that Brown has been producing runs at roughly a league average pace over the past couple months. Is league average production from Dom the answer for the Phillies going forward? Of course not, but it is a sign that he may still be a player with real value.

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What Got Into the Phillies’ Bullpen?

Ken Giles, obviously. But the Phillies’ bullpen overall, even excluding Giles, has been much improved following a rough start to the season. There has been a lot of turnover, as Jeff Manship, B.J. Rosenberg, and Phillippe Aumont have been eschewed. Meanwhile, Justin De Fratus has come on strong and Jake Diekman has been on the up-and-up while Giles has steadily been among the most dominating relievers in baseball.

On a month-by-month basis, here’s what the changes have looked like with the bullpen as a whole:

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