Phillies 2015 Draft Wrap-Up With ESPN’s Eric Longenhagen

As the dust was settling from last week’s draft, I asked our old pal Eric Longenhagen from ESPN to do an email Q&A on the Phillies draft, and he and I wrote back and forth over the last week or so. I’m posting most of what was discussed below, with some notes about after-the-fact facts peppered in to Eric’s comments in italics for clarity. Big thanks to Eric, and if you missed his post-draft analysis on ESPN, please click through here and give it a look. Hope you all enjoy.

Have you seen first rounder Cornelius Randolph in person?

Yes, I saw him in person during showcases last summer and I liked what I saw, though at the time I had him more in the 15-30 range in my head. Continue reading…

The Importance of the Phillies Achieving MLB’s Worst Record

Now on a nine-game losing streak following Wednesday’s loss to the Baltimore Orioles, the Phillies are 22-45, maintaining their two-game “lead” over the Milwaukee Brewers for the worst record in baseball. FanGraphs projects the Phillies to continue being the worst team between now and the end of the season, going 39-56 the rest of the way to finish at 61-101. They’re projected to finish with seven fewer wins than the Brewers, which would grant them the #1 overall pick in the 2016 draft.

The Phillies drafted 10th this year, taking 18-year-old high school shortstop Cornelius Randolph with the intention of converting him into a corner outfielder. They picked seventh in the 2014 draft, taking pitcher Aaron Nola out of Louisiana State University. The year prior, they took J.P. Crawford 16th overall out of high school. Nola and Crawford are highly-regarded and most in the know had positive things to say about the Phillies taking Randolph. After years of poor drafting, it appears they’ve done well in the last three drafts, but there’s work yet to be done.

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Ryne Sandberg the Goat of Tuesday’s 19-3 Drubbing

The Phillies were embarrassingly pummeled by the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night, falling behind 6-0 before three outs were recorded in the first inning and ultimately losing 19-3. Phillies pitchers combined to allow eight home runs, a franchise record for the O’s. The Detroit Tigers were the last team to allow eight homers in a game, on September 4, 2013 against the Boston Red Sox. The last time Phillies pitchers did it was on September 4, 1999 in a 22-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

Starter Jerome Williams lasted only two-thirds of an inning as he suffered a hamstring injury covering home plate after uncorking his second wild pitch. Dustin McGowan relieved him and served up five home runs. Justin De Fratus served up a solo home run to Chris Parmelee to lead off the sixth, then was ejected when he intentionally threw a fastball at J.J. Hardy. Outfielder Jeff Francoeur came in to soak up an inning in the seventh and wound up going two, throwing 48 pitches. He enjoyed a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh, but tired in the eighth, allowing a home run, hitting a batter, and issuing three walks.

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Ken Giles Returning to Form

Towards the end of April, Ken Giles looked like an alarmingly diminished form of his 2014 self. At the time, I wrote about his decreased average fastball velocity, the corresponding increase in the quantity of contact he allowed, and a small sample size horrendous walk-rate. Fortunately for the Phillies, their presumed future closer has been gradually regaining his form over the past month and a half.

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Domonic Brown Freed From Triple-A

The next chapter of Domonic Brown‘s seemingly never ending saga of mismanagement, disappointing performance, and unfortunate health injuries has arrived. After today’s loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Phillies announced they are recalling former top prospect Domonic Brown and, in a corresponding move, sending Darin Ruf up the Northeast Extension to Lehigh Valley.

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Is It Time To Call Up Aaron Nola?

Scouts and baseball front office employees must tire of preaching patience when it comes to prospects. Player development in the game of baseball is an agonizingly slow process and even though the most informed and enlightened fan knows and accepts this fact, the impatience to see top prospects called up is innate in all baseball fans. If you love baseball, of course you want to see Kris Bryant, Joey Gallo, Joc Pederson, and [Insert Your Favorite Team’s Top Prospect Here] playing at the highest level.

“Patience is a virtue” is nothing more than a bullshit saying we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel better about circumstances beyond our control. Waiting is frustratingly dull and in player development it doesn’t make the end result any sweeter. Baseball fans generally have to wait 2-5 years to see a drafted player finally reach the big leagues. Football fans see top draftees play in the NFL the very same year they are drafted. Does this give baseball fans a better appreciation for their players? Of course not, but it’s a necessary evil and so, we wait.

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Mariners Have Interest in Ben Revere, Misinformation Abounds

CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reported yesterday that the Seattle Mariners have shown interest in potentially trading for outfielder Ben Revere. That report was confirmed by Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune, who added that GM Ruben Amaro reportedly asked for either Taijuan Walker or James Paxton (currently injured), two highly-regarded young pitchers.

Given that Revere is an average-at-best outfielder whose salary will only continue to climb from this year’s $4.1 million over his next two years of arbitration eligibility, the reported asking price is ridiculous. As Amaro has been a media piñata for the last three years, Dutton’s report was accepted unquestionably and the Amaro-bashing ensued. One problem: Amaro denied the report. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:

“Typically we would not comment on rumors. But when they reach this level of ridiculousness, I can say unequivocally that what has been written is false.”

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Ryne Sandberg Continues to Misuse Cole Hamels and Justin De Fratus

I meant to write about this on Monday, but there was whole MLB Draft thing going on. The Phillies lost their series opener in Cincinnati against the Reds 6-4. Cole Hamels started and pitched poorly for the first time since May 2. Meanwhile, the offense squandered plenty of opportunities against an unsharp Mike Leake.

The game featured two of my bigger pet peeves with manager Ryne Sandberg this season: Hamels was overworked, and reliever Justin De Fratus was misused yet again.

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Thoughts on Cornelius Randolph and Second Round Pick Scott Kingery

As Bill reported earlier, The Phillies grabbed Georgia HS bat Cornelius Randolph with the tenth overall selection in the 2015 draft on Monday night. Randolph played short in high school, but like many high school shortstops, he doesn’t project to stay there in the pros, and Johnny Almaraz has already stated the club will force him off the infield in his pro debut, likely at Williamsport in the rookie level New York Penn League. That’s a fairly aggressive assignment for a high school kid, and it speaks to his hit tool being one of the strongest among prep players in this year’s draft. The club obviously feels he’ll handle himself at the plate while he works on ramping up his defense in left field. Continue reading…