A Brief Written History of Maikel Franco

News broke this morning, from basically every beat writer who was awake, that the Phillies have called up third baseman Maikel Franco from AAA to start at the hot corner tonight and with any luck, long into the future. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise, given the recent demotion of incumbent Cody Asche to log innings in left field, and Franco’s torrid pace at Lehigh Valley thus far. He was slashing .350/.372/.540/.912 with a .418 wOBA and a 166 wRC+. All that, and he was two years younger than anyone else in the Top Ten in OPS in the International League, and the fifth youngest position player in that league overall. Continue reading…

Crash Bag, Vol. 3 & 4: Double or Nothin’

It’s been a long, long way down for Phillies fans. Though the annual declines in performance have let us down slowly, gently into the abyss of terrible baseball, it’s still been difficult to watch the team over the last few years. Maybe your turning point was Cole’s subpar performance in the 2009 World Series, or Howard’s strikeout parade against the Giants in 2010, or Howard’s achilles injury in 2011 … or paying Howard and not Jayson Werth … or trading for Hunter Pence … or trading Pence. You get the idea. There have been plenty of times when the bottom fell out of what we thought was the bottom. So it’s only natural, and completely understandable, that the minor leaguers get more attention these days, especially when the big club runs out a lineup with Cesar Hernandez or Freddy Galvis batting 2nd. I feel your pain.

Continue reading…

Phillies Minor League Preview

Minor League Full-Season leagues open today, with not too many surprises on the rosters. I’d like to tell you about a couple of those, note a couple other items of interest, and pick some deeper sleeper and breakout guys to watch out for as the season gets going, since one of my sleepers and one of my breakouts from my Top 30 are injured, (breakout Kelly Dugan and sleeper Samuel Hiciano), and one isn’t starting the year where I’d hoped, (sleeper Malquin Canelo). So that’s looking pretty bad already.

This will be my first year since 2011 not reporting on the daily grind of minor league action Continue reading…

Amaro Full-Blows It On Biddle’s Brain

Among the bizarre health issues that have befallen Jesse Biddle in the last couple years, (you may recall he basically pitched through whooping cough in 2013), getting a concussion from a hail stone takes the cake. He was pitching well at AA Reading early in 2014, then he got plunked fleeing for cover from his busted up car during a wild storm, and his season all but fell apart.

Continue reading…

Phillies 2015 Top 30 Prospects

I wanted to post my Top 30 Prospects list on the day pitchers and catchers report because it’s symbolic of the passing of not just one year to another, but one generation to another. Ok, I’m lying – it’s because I procrastinated for a very long time and this seemed like the latest I should let it go. So as late as I am, I thought it would be interesting to compare my list with a sample of those from around the industry. The very excellent Matt Winkelman (@Matt_Winkelman) from the very excellent PhilliesMinorThoughts.com had a big list of industry lists already, so I stole that and mushed it all together to create a consensus ranking for all of these players. Good man, that Matt Winks.

Now, this ranking comparison is by no means scientific – Continue reading…

Gertrude and Anatoli

December 21, 2315
Somewhere Near the ruins of Cherry Hill, Federated Union of North America

Dearest Gertrude,

I write to you knowing that in all probability, you will never lay eyes on this letter. The ion storms coursing overhead leave streaks of lighting as piercing blue as your eyes and as breathtakingly beautiful as your face, and they too imprison me in a state I may never escape. Long have I regretted the actions I took that allowed The Event to separate us, and my guilt is only assuaged by the fact that I was able to love you, and you me, for what time we had together.

I write to you because I learned something today that shows, in clear terms, how nothing changes in this world. Carlos Tocci is the Phillies’ eighth-best prospect. Civilizations have risen and fallen, the Moon  revolves around the Earth and the hoverships glide lazily from here to there, and Carlos Tocci is still 19 years old and slugging .280 in the low minors.

Continue reading…

Rollins Retrospective: The Minors and Rookie Campaign

Sometimes a guy comes into the minors with high hopes and fails. Sometimes a guy comes in with little hope, or no hope at all, and fails. The successes are all rare, expectation or not. And careers like Jimmy Rollins‘…well…every year over 2,000 guys are drafted or sign internationally. Two win an MVP, like Jimmy did in 2007. He’s been the rarest of the rare. Continue reading…

2014 Phillies Report Card: Cameron Rupp

Cameron Rupp‘s big league experience in 2014 consisted of about half-time PAs from the middle of June through the middle of July, when both Carlos Ruiz and Wil Nieves were out injured at different points, and just one appearance in September, despite Chooch admitting mid-way through the month that he’d been suffering from a year-long shoulder injury. Fangraphs makes Rupp even on WAR for the year, as he added some defensive value to a poor offensive showing. In all, I’d call that a disappointing but tolerable second cup of coffee, which I would imagine is not uncommon in the coffee world, because it gets cold or bitter or something. IDK, I drink iced tea. Either way, better to spend a little time profiling the player than try to dive into 64 big league PAs, in my opinion. So here goes that. Continue reading…