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…

A Glimpse of Maikel Franco

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the Phillies are bad. They’ve been bad for quite a while, and as the calendar flipped from August to September, they were…still bad. So when rosters expanded this month and top prospect Maikel Franco was summoned to the big leagues, it made sense to expect the Phillies to give Franco a good, long look at third base.

Yeah, not so much. In 20 games this month, Franco has 48 at bats (for those wondering, that’s 50 plate appearances; he’s not the most patient guy at the plate). The franchise that has so little in the way of young, projectable talent, and so little to play for as the season winds down, has given its best young position player not named J.P. Crawford a whopping total of 50 plate appearances this month.

Continue reading…

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…

Game 060 - RDG vs HBG-2655 Nola

Aaron and Jesse (Wait, Aaron Paul = Jesse Pinkman…Whoa)

What a night to be alive and a fan of Phillies Minor League baseball. Aaron Nola made his AA debut in Reading in front of a huge contingent of media and a couple members of the Phils’ front office. And Jesse Biddle made his return to starting at Single-A Clearwater after about six weeks on the inactive list and throwing only a couple innings in the rookie Gulf Coast League.

Nola was, by all accounts, quite good, if not dominant.  For a guy who was still playing college ball two months ago, and despite it being predicted by professional evaluators the sport over, his rise to Reading and successful night there is pretty remarkable. Nola’s career path seems to be lining up similarly to the Cards’ Michael Wacha, with some work the summer of his draft, and an eye towards a mid-season call up from AAA the following year. If that’s how it turns out, he won’t be on many prospect lists for very long, but to be sure, he’ll be on all of them this winter. I would guess he’s in the 30-50 range most everywhere, but a very strong showing in his AA stint could puff that up some.

I’ve followed Phillies prospects closely for going on six years now, and there’s never been an Aaron Nola in my world. Continue reading…

Hottness In July

A whole mess of Phils minor leaguers had a very strong statistical July, highlighted by six guys who were often ranked in the Top 15 last offseason and will be again, and two more who should easily join them this year.

Maikel Franco and Aaron Nola are the two guys you’d have to guess are either #2 or #3 in the system in pretty much every professional evaluators’ eyes right now, behind only J.P. Crawford. Franco came off a hellish June, where he OPSed a dismal .435. In July, he stroked 15 XBH, including four home runs, and struck out a reasonable 15 times in over 100PAs. He’s been pulling the ball with authority, as the spray chart below shows. His 2013 statistical red flag, BB rate, came back this month, as he drew just five. But as I’ve wondered in the past, who’s trying to draw a walk when they’re slugging .596 for the month. Not I.

franco spray chart july 14

RHP Aaron Nola was drafted this year with the seventh overall pick and signed quickly. Continue reading…