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…

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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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…

All Signs Point To Kyle Tucker (Maybe)

It’s been a kind of Magic Eight Ball draft season for the Phillies, who pick number 10 tonight. We heard Vanderbilt RHP Walker Buehler’s name at that pick a couple times, mostly a couple weeks ago now, and that’s tapered off as his stock slips a little into the mid-teens. We’ve more recently been hearing the Phils like Tyler Stevenson, a catcher from Kennesaw Mountain HS in Georgia, or maybe a college bat (Cincinnati 2B/CF Ian Happ has been mentioned, and Scout.com still has him as The Phils pick as of their last mock). But the rumblings started last night when FanGraphs Kiley McDaniel (@KileyMcD) tweeted that several lower names could be picked in the Top 10 based on signability issues.

Then this morning, for the first time, we have mock drafts with a player from the seven or eight guys at the top of most boards available when the Phils pick tonight. That someone is Kyle Tucker. BA’s John Manuel and MLB.com‘s Jon Mayo and Jim Callis all have the Plant HS (FL) OF falling to the Phils. For the record, I would be totally fine with that turn of events. (FYI – McDaniel has yet to release his final mock, though follow him on Twitter and I’m sure you’ll hear about it this afternoon, and since publishing this post, Keith Law put his Insider Mock up at ESPN with Tucker the pick as well).

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Promotion Time

The start of June has typically signaled the start of promotion season in Minor League baseball. Two months at a level is a pretty good benchmark for many guys – everyday players are generally approaching 200 PAs, starting pitchers have 8-10 starts under their belts, and relievers are often 25+ innings into their campaigns. And mid-month is the draft, the end of Extended Spring Training, the start of short season/rookie leagues, and the mid-point of the five month full-season leagues. So lots of opportunity for movement.

In many cases, what it amounts to is an organizational question, not necessarily a prospect question. Some of the guys mentioned below are not really “prospects” in the sense that you look at them to have an impact on the big club in the future. But don’t discount them all; the players who surprise from the rank and file, the non-prospects, are often the same guys having big seasons like those organizational guys I mention below.

Lehigh Valley (AAA) – Aside from thinking it’s a waste to have Dom Brown spending time at AAA when we need to see if he can do anything at MLB, I don’t see much going on at AAA that would warrant a promotion. Continue reading…

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.

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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.

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