JP Crawford Moved Up To AAA

Are You Down With JPC, In The L.V.?

As reported publicly by the Phillies, top shortstop prospect and excellent dog-haver J.P. Crawford has been promoted to AAA Lehigh Valley. Crawford has played nearly a full year at Reading now, minus a little time off for injury, and put up combined stats that PhilliesMinorThoughts.com’s Matt Winkelman tweeted earlier:

That maybe doesn’t look like a wildly successful hitting campaign for someone touted as having an advanced bat, but the foundation of a very strong offensive game shows – he’s got enough power, plus the discipline and contact ability to keep pitchers working all day long.

Crawford becomes the only 21-year-old in the International League, taking over as the youngest position player from teammate Nick Williams, and the youngest player overall from teammate Jake Thompson.* By nearly a year. That team is stacked. Do you feel that? That’s anticipation. Couple more months and it’ll be downright excitement. Next spring, I may literally explode.** Tell my baby I died thinking about baseball players.

No word yet on whether the dogs will be joining him in Allentown. Hopefully someday they join him in a parade down Broad. (RIP Elvis).

*Update Neither Williams nor Crawford is actually the youngest position player in the Int’l League, it’s Ozzie Albies, and he’s a good bit younger than Crawford (guy’s still 19). He was not appearing on leader boards on BRef because his offensive stats haven’t been very good just yet – my fault. And it was Zach Eflin instead of Jake Thompson – BRef table sort by age totally hosed me there – but now Jose Berrios is back down and he’s younger than Eflin. Lesson for you all and myself – always just use “age” as the “stat” to sort by on BRef. Dang.

**Despite this age-related mess, my enthusiasm remains unbridled. I will still probably die next Spring.

Tommy Joseph Promoted, Darin Ruf Sent Down, Probably

(The original headline of this story implied Darin Ruf had been demoted, because it seems likely and because I am an idiot who forgot to fix it before posting. Sorry, Darin.)

Tommy Joseph, the primary return in the Phillies 2012 trade of Hunter Pence to San Francisco, had his contract selected from Lehigh Valley and will join the club as they begin a nine-game home stand tonight against Cincinnati, according to Jayson Stark and a bunch of the Philly beats. Joseph ever making his MLB debut was far from anyone’s mind just three months ago, but his play in Spring Training and the AAA regular season has certainly warranted the call-up, and his long struggle against injury makes his impending debut, likely tonight against Brandon Finnegan, quite the feel-good story. Really, I feel good about it. Not like, I just got an N64 for Christmas, but pretty good. Continue reading…

Bold Prediction: Tyler Goeddel Will Compete For NL Rookie Of The Year

Corey Seager, Steven Matz, Julio Urias, Trea Turner, Tyler Goeddel. That’s how I see the 2016 NL Rookie of the Year race. There are some studs in this rookie class, but Goeddel is a multi-tooled offensive player, and is not likely to be a defensive liability. If he gets hot, he could put up counting stats that make some of the voters for the writers’ annual Post-Season-Make-Your-Own-News (POSMYON) Awards take notice. Yes, the Posmyons. The statues are lovely. It’s a likeness of William Randolph Hearst orchestrating a war. Ok…maybe that’s a bad comp.

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2016 Phillies Top 30 Prospects

So as was the case in 2015, I am terribly late in writing up my rankings again. Last year I decided to compare my list with a sample of those from around the industry, as compiled by Matt Winkelman (@Matt_Winkelman), owner/operator of the terrific site PhilliesMinorThoughts.com. Once again this year, Matt pulled all of the results from around the web and made them available with averages and such. If there was an award for making my life easier, I would nominate Matt. Or the Boon Suds Bottle Washer. Either way.

Last year, my biggest variances from average were Andrew Knapp (I was 10 over the average) and Aaron Altherr (+9), so probably you should assume everything I say here is correct, (as always). Nevermind I had Ricardo Pinto way low (-8). NEVER YOU MIND. Continue reading…

Positional Preview: The Starting Rotation

When the Crashburn Alley crew received its year-end report card assignments for the 2015 season, I somehow managed to end up with the unenviable task of writing up Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams, AND Sean O’Sullivan. You can read my thoughts on those three fellows here (Harang), here (Williams), and here (SOS). Without forcing you to relive the tire fire that was the 2015 Phillies starting rotation, I’ll simply say you’re in for a much more pleasant experience this season. Now, with no further discussion of that 2015 rotation ever ever ever, I present your shiny, new Phillies starting pitchers.

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Positional Preview: Prospects

So, let me clear something up here, right off the bat. Maybe you’ve already figured this out, but, technically, “Prospects” is not a position. However, on the 2016 Phillies, prospects are as important a subset of the roster as any. And so, if I haven’t completely blown your mind, I hope you’ll follow along with me as I take a look at a handful of guys who will be worth watching in spring training, and in their minor league seasons at Reading and Lehigh Valley.

Star Potential Up The Middle: J.P. Crawford, Jorge Alfaro and Nick Williams

It’s been said before about a thousand times, and I’m not sure I can add much to the conversation here, but let me try: JP Crawford has awesome dogs. Have you seen them? Beautiful. Here’s one of them.

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Spring Storylines – Twenty-Six Guys Who Can Play Some Center Field

Gone are the days of Michael Martinez. Gone are the days of John Mayberry Jr. Gone are the days of “maybe Cesar Hernandez” and “I don’t know man, Grady Sizemore?”. The 2016 Phillies have actual center fielders coming to camp to back up an incumbent. Odubel Herrera enters the spring with a firm grip on a starting role, but behind him, there is a crowd vying for the other outfield spots. Almost all of them have at least some ability in center, and one of them might even push El Torito to a corner.

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Keith Law’s Top 10 Phillies Prospects

It’s the first week of Spring Training, so that means ESPN’s Keith Law has been working nonstop on his prospect rankings. He released his top 10 Phillies prospects list today, and threw in ten more for good measure. The fact that the list has an extra 10 names on it is one indicator of how deep the Phillies’ farm system has become. Here’s the list, with the player’s KLaw top-100 ranking in parentheses where applicable.  Continue reading…

Venezuelan Summer League Shutdown Will Impact Phillies

In a bit of under the radar news that’s highly significant for the Philadelphia Phillies, Ben Badler of Baseball America reported that the Venezuelan Summer League is cancelling its 2016 season.

The Phillies were one of four teams with an affiliate in the league which is comprised primarily of 17- to 19-year-olds that are unknown to virtually all baseball fans stateside. The 2015 VSL Phillies top performers were: a 19-year-old outfielder named Enger Jimenez who batted .307/.380/.443 and has been playing for the VSL Phillies since he was 16 and a 20-year-old left-handed pitcher named Sergio Velis who posted a 1.33 ERA in 74.2 innings. Take a look at their roster on Baseball-Reference. If there’s a name you’ve heard of it might be catcher Lenin Rodriguez who signed with a $300,000 bonus in 2014 or maybe you’ve seen the name Freddy Zorrilla before simply because his name is Freddy Zorrilla. Beyond that, it’s littered with names even the most devoted Phillies fans have never heard and, likely, never will hear. The chances of making it all the way from a foreign rookie league like the VSL or the Dominican Summer League to the majors are minimal at best.

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