2015 Phillies Report Card – Aaron Nola

For Aaron Nola, after being the college pitcher of the year in 2014, and the #7 overall pick in that summer’s draft,  a ticket to the majors was printed on opening day of 2015. The date of arrival was the only thing left blank. Nola spent a couple months in AA and AAA before he got to write in “July 21”, and honestly, it’s pretty stunning how lax the TSA is with 2014 First Round draft picks. One of those guys could be an ISIS in disguise. (My money’s on Michael Conforto, mostly because he’s on The Mets, and I dislike them so much that I’d prefer to be marooned on top of a mountain with my religious sect than see them win a World Series. Go Royals, Boo Mets, as they say). Continue reading…

2015 Phillies Report Card – Jerad Eickhoff

The first of the Hamels Gang to make the majors, Jerad Eickhoff debuted to mostly good reviews in 2015 (Script idea: Blogger somehow winds up in a cool street gang with Cole Hamels, they dance and sing and throw wicked change-ups and otherwise mess up opposing gangs). But I have an important question for all of you: how exactly am I to pronounce his first name? It’s spelled Jerad, yet BRef only tells me how to pronounce his last name. Is it JAIR ad? JEH rid? Pretty sure it’s not JEE rad or jee RAD. Do you just kind of mush your mouth and say “Jared”? As in, “Hey, let me introduce to my friend *covers mouth a little and mumbles* Joarminsh.”

Or perhaps we should all start using his new nickname, The General, (I like Eick, don’t you?). (I promise not to push this one like I have pushed for Aaron Altherr to be The Rhineland Rocket. It’s not nearly as good and I’m bad at convincing people to use my terms anyway.) Continue reading…

September Call-Up Preview

Tomorrow is the first day of the utter madness that is September baseball. For better or worse, in-game strategy is thrown on its head for the final month of the regular season due to active rosters expanding from 25 roster spots to 40. For a rebuilding team like the Phillies, this can be an exciting time as it often means prospects will be called up for their first taste of the major leagues. This year, however, due to trades and starting rotation woes, most of the Phillies’ would-be September call-ups — Jerad Eickhoff, Alec Asher, Darnell Sweeney, Aaron Altherr — are already wearing red pinstripes.

As a result, Phillies beats writers indicated that the September call-up list tomorrow will be relatively small.
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Utley Retrospective – The Minors and Rookie Campaign(s)

I’m going to take a close look at Chase Utley‘s minor league career and rookie season(s), much like I did with Jimmy Rollins when he was traded to The Dodgers. When I wrote about the franchise-best shortstop last winter, I called James Calvin Rollins “the rarest of the rare”. Damned if we didn’t have two gems surrounding the Keystone Sack in the Keystone State for more than a decade. This is how we got from the draft to a big-league superstar named Chase Cameron Utley. Continue reading…

An Updated Look at the Phillies’ Minor League System

The Phillies made three trades leading up to the 4 PM EST deadline on Friday, sending closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Washington Nationals, starter Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers, and outfielder Ben Revere to the Toronto Blue Jays. Coupled with trades made last year to eschew Jimmy Rollins, Marlon Byrd, and Roberto Hernandez, the Phillies continue to bolster a minor league system that should now rank among the ten-best in baseball.

Just how much progress have the Phillies made? Let’s take a look at their updated top-30 from MLB.com.

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Cole Hamels Traded To Texas

We knew it was a real possibility, but any hope that the Phillies ace would remain in Philadelphia after the trade deadline has been extinguished. According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, the deal is final:

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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…