Monday (Tuesday) Morning (Afternoon) Roundtable: Trade Deadline Recap

In case you were under a rock, the Phillies did this over the past week or so.

After waiting to see if Matt Klentak did anything crazy I asked the writers here to weigh in.

The Phillies traded Pat Neshek, Howie Kendrick, Jeremy Hellickson, and Joaquin Benoit. What is your gut reaction to how the Phillies did?

Adam: I’m actually surprised the Phillies were able to move all four of those guys. Neshek was a slam dunk, but considering Kendrick’s injuries this year, and the underwhelming performances of Hellickson and Benoit, it’s got to be considered an A+ deadline for Klentak & Co. It’s been clear for weeks that there was no market for Tommy Joseph, whose 99 wRC+ is an unappealing 24th among all qualified first basemen. This offseason, there could certainly be a chance to deal him, probably in a package, but first base is so deep and power is cheaper now that everyone seems capable of hitting 20+ homers. Considering the leaguewide trends we saw at this deadline — tons of relievers and rentals moving, essentially no hitters moving, and low prices being paid compared to expectations — Joseph staying put is not a failure. Continue reading…

Monday Morning Roundtable: Fact or Fluke

Each Monday morning I ask the writers a series of questions about current topics facing the Phillies and baseball. This week, the Phillies record is still bad, but they are playing much better. Which of these trends are real, and which ones are setting us up for disappointment?

Luis Garcia has not given up a run since June 13 and since then has gone 17.1 IP with 7 hits, 5 walks, 17 strikeouts, and a ground ball rate over 60%. Is Luis Garcia good?

Michael: Fact. Garcia’s strikeout rate is down, but his walk rate is way down to just 8.1%. If you take out the one game where he allowed 5 ER in 0.2 innings, his ERA would be just 1.14.

Adam: Fact. Because just like in the NBA, everyone makes a run. Relievers are notoriously volatile and if Garcia is getting whiffs, he’s good (for this team). Continue reading…

Monday Morning Roundtable: Trade Talk

Each week I interrogate the writers here with some questions on some subjects that may relate to the Phillies. This week we all take our stab at the hot stove and try not to look like fools with our opinions.

Question 1: Who are your untouchable* players at the deadline?

*Well untouchable for non-Mike Trout players

Adam: Nola, Kingery, Crawford, Sixto.
I know it’s fashionable currently to be anti-Crawford, but to me it doesn’t seem possible for a (mostly) healthy guy to go from global top 10 prospect to no-hit, all glove bust in the span of a year. You could slay me with my own sword on Kingery, but I don’t see why that would be very nice. I also think that while Maikel Franco isn’t untouchable, he’s practically untradeable. Continue reading…

Monday Morning Roundtable: Midseason Awards

The first (or really the pre-All Star break) half of the season is in the books and the Phillies are bad. This week I asked the writers to give away some positive awards, because we all really don’t want to dwell on Michael Saunders’ Phillies tenure.

First Half MVP:

Adam: My MVP is Aaron Altherr. I’m sure I’m not the only one on board that rocket, and for good reason. We have ample evidence now that this is the player Altherr truly is, and not the withered husk still recovering from injury in 2016. In 2015 and 2017, Altherr has posted very fine wRC+ of 125 and 124.  Continue reading…

Monday Morning Roundtable: Sometimes It is the Little Things

Each Monday morning the Crashburn Alley writers weigh in on various questions about the state of the Phillies.

The Phillies are starting a 10 game road trip (and by the time this is published will have already played 3), what is one thing you want to see out of this team over that stretch?

Michael: It’s hard to put so much stock in any ten-game stretch in this long lost season, so wins are not especially important to me in the grand scheme of things. What I’d like to see is improved play from individual players. I’d like to see Maikel Franco string together a few barrels; starters continuing to hit six innings in their starts; Odubel Herrera taking a few walks. Individually it might not mean much, but if a bunch of players can make incremental improvements, the wins will come.

Brad: I’d like to see less than three walk-offs on a ten game roadie. I know, maybe that’s not realistic. How about less than five?

Honestly, a handful of saves for the pen would be nice. Whether you value the stat, (I do not), there’s no harm in adding some confidence into a reliever’s psyche, and it also means winning a game that could be easily lost by virtue of all the bad things this team is so prone to do. Continue reading…

Monday Morning Roundtable: Trying to be Optimistic About Young Pitching

We are kicking off a new series here, well really an old series just reborn. It is the return of the roundtable where the writers here weigh in on some topics about the Phillies. The goal is touch on some things that don’t fully warrant a bunch of words or might be too depressing to sit down and write a piece about. This week we attempt to be positive about the Phillies.

Since the injuries to Clay Buchholz, Zach Eflin, and Vince Velasquez we have gotten a chance to see two of the Phillies’ young starters in Ben Lively and Nick Pivetta. What are your initial impressions of the pair and does either of them give you any confidence about their future?

Michael: I haven’t yet watched a Ben Lively start, so I’m not going off much visually. But I don’t think I need much visually to realize that a 5.9% K% is bad. Or that a 3.4% HR/FB% isn’t sustainable. Or that walking three guys for every two you strike out isn’t a recipe for success. I’ll have to actually watch him before I get too in depth, but the early returns are far from encouraging, despite the 70 ERA-. Continue reading…

Crashburn Roundtable: Early Season Opinions

We are roughly 3 weeks into the major league season, and the Phillies have been fairly average. That is a big improvement over the projections which still see them as one of the worst teams in baseball. Almost every part of the team has had its ups and its downs. It may be too early to make some big sweeping judgments about the season, but the staff here has some opinions on the season so far anyway.

The Phillies are 9-9 after having a tough early game schedule including 12 against the Nationals and Mets. It is still early, but has your outlook on this team changed?

Adam Dembowitz: I think maybe 79 wins (my preseason projection) is a little low for this team. Nothing personal against Buchholz, but I think his injury actually adds a win by itself (at least). Considering some other changes — Nola presumably being the “old Nola” after he gets back from the DL, Velasquez maybe getting into the sixth inning more often, Neris holding down the 9th all year, Altherr breaking out — I wouldn’t be surprised to see something like 83, 84 wins by the end of the season.  Continue reading…