Phillies Upcoming Non-Tender Candidates

With the end of the season drawing near, the Phillies will be preparing first for a change in the front office ranks, as Andy MacPhail will be succeeding Pat Gillick as the team president. If he doesn’t assume direct control of baseball operations, he’ll be in charge of naming someone for that position, as well as finding a new GM after letting Ruben Amaro, Jr. go last week. And then he’ll have to find a permanent manager and revamp the coaching staff. It’ll be a project, to say the least.

Once the Phillies have names written next to their leadership positions, they can begin worrying about their 2016 roster configuration. By early December, they will have to identify to which players they will and will not tender a contract. Currently, 10 players are eligible for arbitration and they’ll have to make decisions on all 10 of them. Let’s run down this list in some detail.

Continue reading…

Phillies Wise to Move on from Ruben Amaro, Jr.

The Phillies, after much consternation and conjecture, finally turned the page on the Ruben Amaro, Jr. era by handing him his pink slip on Thursday. With incoming president Andy MacPhail set to steer the Phillies into what we hope is a much more prosperous era, it was time to clear out what was left of the old regime. Pat Gillick is stepping down, Ryne Sandberg quit, and Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Cole Hamels had been shipped out in trades. Symbolically, Amaro was all that remained.

We have gone to great lengths here to defend Amaro when he has needed defending. The Phillies have been run much better over the last two or three years than they had been between 2009-11. The rash of trades Amaro made within the last calendar ear put the organization in a fantastic position for the future. He avoided burdensome contracts. But, for as much as we feel Amaro got a bad rap as of late, it was time to make a change.

Continue reading…

Odubel Herrera Ranks Among Best Rule-5 Picks Ever

Odubel Herrera keeps on truckin’. The Phillies’ center fielder went 2-for-3 with a walk and a three-run home run, putting Tuesday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves out of reach at 5-0. Herrera bolstered his triple-slash line to .302/.340/.434 and crossed the 3-WAR threshold on the season, according to both Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.

Matt Winkelman of Phillies Minor Thoughts tweeted this during the game:

Continue reading…

Phillies’ Run Differential Already 20th-Worst in Team History

Early in this season, much was made of the Phillies’ abysmal start, particularly in the run differential department. Here’s what was written on May 2:

Projected over 162 games, the Phillies are on pace to score 428 runs and allow 778. The -350 run differential would easily be their worst in a 162-game season. The current worst is -172 set by the 1997 Phillies. Before that, it was -140 by the ’96 squad. If we include 154-game seasons, the 1945 Phillies were kind of close at -317. The 1921 Phillies are next at -302.

Continue reading…

Phillies’ Youth Movement Paying Off Early

The Phillies still have a ways to go before they can legitimately be considered a threat in the NL East again, but it’s hard not to be enthused by the team’s play in the second half, especially after pawning off a handful of veterans. They’re 24-19 in the second half, though they’ve narrowly outscored opponents 208 to 206.

On Tuesday, the Phillies handled the New York Mets 14-8 and the score made the game appear a lot closer than it really was. And it’s true that the Mets’ three errors and six walks contributed greatly to the win. That being said, Darnell Sweeney continued to impress, going 2-for-5 while driving in three runs. Since making his major league debut after coming over from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Chase Utley trade, Sweeney is hitting .263/.417/.632 with a double, two home runs, and five walks.

Continue reading…

The Tediously Boring Closer

Occasionally on baseball blogs with an analytical slant, it’s necessary to dive into the mundane and boring and, as luck would have it, the Phillies employ one of the most boring players in the sport. I’ll try to make this as quick and painless as possible, but it’s time to acknowledge the tediously dull performance of the Phillies freshly anointed closer, Ken Giles.

Continue reading…

The Phillies Struck Gold with Rule 5 Pick Odubel Herrera

The Phillies made a couple of unheralded Rule 5 picks during the off-season, selecting pitcher Andy Oliver from the Pittsburgh Pirates and outfielder Odubel Herrera from the Rangers. Oliver showed some good swing-and-miss stuff, but faltered with his control and the Phillies wanted to send him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley rather than keep him on the major league roster. As was his right, Oliver elected to attempt to find work elsewhere, a decision that drew the ire of GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. and made headlines. Herrera was mostly forgotten about.

In early March, not knowing too much about the guy, I suggested Herrera could be “dynamic” for the Phillies. It didn’t appear that would be the case, as Herrera ended May with a .249 average and a .635 OPS while looking uncomfortable in center field.

Continue reading…

Jeff Francoeur Enjoying A Good Season Despite Negative WAR

Recently, a little debate stirred on the ol’ Internets when ESPN’s Keith Law cited Phillies outfielder Jeff Francoeur‘s negative WAR in response to a piece of trivia which painted the veteran in a positive light. Law isn’t wrong about Frenchy’s poor on-field value: Baseball Reference lists him with -0.3 WAR while FanGraphs has him at -0.2. That’s in line with his production over the previous two seasons, albeit in smaller sample sizes.

Continue reading…

Who To Dream On — Hernandez Or Herrera?

The Phillies have the best record in Major League Baseball during the second half partly because their offense is scoring runs at a prolific rate (5.24 R/G, T-1st in NL, T-3rd in MLB), partly because their pitching is preventing runs (3.31 ERA, 2nd in NL, 4th in MLB), and partly because baseball is weirder than a cat on catnip. Two of the heroes of the Phillies recent stretch of success are young hitters getting it done with impressive speed and contact abilities – Odubel Herrera and Cesar Hernandez. Although these two players have produced similar value this season and are only a year and a half apart in age, there is significantly more room for optimism for one of these players over the other.

Here are their 2015 season stats through Sunday’s game:

Continue reading…