Announcement about the Future of Crashburn Alley

The Phillies are on the verge of completing a cycle of disappointment that started in October 2011. Throughout the Phillies’ tough rebuild and the glory years that preceded it, Crashburn Alley has been a stalwart of the Phillies community. Unfortunately I have not had the time to continue the legacy put forward by years of excellence. After speaking with Bill Baer, we have decided that Crashburn Alley will be coming to an end this summer.

Looking back on the history of the site, it is hard not see its impact on baseball as a whole. The alumni of this site are full time writers, analysts, and employees of major league teams. It has been an honor to run Crashburn the past year and a half, and I am thankful to Bill for giving me the opportunity and to Eric Chesterton for reaching out to me to take his place. I must thank former writers and editors who have been great sounding boards and fonts of advice and guidance. Additionally, I would like to thank the current writers for a fun time here, and for their insight and willingness to jump onto difficult and interesting topics. Lastly, a big thanks to the readers and the community here, as well as all of you who donated last summer to keep it running.

Bill asked me to include his final thanks and thoughts on the end of the site

Thank you for the support through the years. It has been rewarding to have seen so many talented people use Crashburn Alley as a launching pad for their careers. I learned so much not just from the writers but by the readers as well. Crashburn Alley was a tremendous source of pride for me, which is why I’m so sad to shut it down. But given the circumstances, it just makes sense. Perhaps some day it’ll come back again. In the meantime, please continue to support the writers elsewhere.Bill Baer

Going forward Bill will be keeping the website name, and I will be working on creating an archive of the writing that will continue to be accessible. As for where to continue to find good writing, here is where you can find the work of notable former writers.

Bill Baer – Hardball Talk

Michael Baumann – The Ringer

Paul Boye – The Good Phight (also their twitter account)

Corrine Landry – Philadelphia Phillies

Spencer Bingol – Boston Red Sox

Eric Chesterton – MLB.com Cut4

Eric Longenhagen – Fangraphs

Ben Harris – The Athletic

You can also follow the current writers on twitter: Brad Engler, Adam Dembowitz, Michael Schickling, Tim Guenther, and myself

Once again thank you all for reading this site.

In Signing Scott Kingery the Phillies Show the Complicated Process of Building a Young Core

On Sunday, the Phillies announced both that Scott Kingery would be on the opening day roster and that they had agreed to a 6 year deal with 3 options years. There is a lot going on in that statement, both for the Phillies and Scott as baseball entities, and for the two of them as financial entities.

It is probably best to start with the ugly part first, the financial aspect of this contract. For the Phillies, they guarantee Kingery the most money ever to a player with no MLB service time and a contract that is at least market compared to other early pre-arb contracts. In theory, the Phillies are taking on a lot of risk here. Kingery has some flaws, flaws that are why he is a good, but not top in the game prospect. The problem is there is no actual risk. The Phillies are paying $8M in the 6th year of this deal, which is a tiny bit of money in relation to their overall revenues and not a huge overpay if Kingery is just a solid utility bench player by that point in his contract. Kingery’s profile plays well into this as well. He is a good defender with great speed, and a good feel for contact. On its own, he is a fine utility infielder. His question marks are in his power and on base abilities. He has answered a lot of questions about whether his power is at least average, but the questions on his approach still remain. He does not have a long track record of struggle, he just lacks the upper minor league track record of success (it is a small sample size when talking about walk and strikeouts rates). The Phillies take on very little risk here, and the upside of this deal is that they just locked up an All-Star caliber player for his entire prime, for less than $7M AAV over the course of the 9 years of the deal. Continue reading…

Crash Bag #5: Investing in Prospects

Did you know the Phillies signed Jake Arrieta this week, because they did. It means there are no questions this week about whether the Phillies should sign Jake Arrieta. Instead this week I go on a tangent about paying minor leaguers. Also look for exciting site developments next week.

@andrew_pantano: What would be the first steps to creating a fair-pay minor league system?

Before getting into logistics, I want to make a few things clear. Minor leaguers are only paid during the season so no offseason or spring training. Minor leaguers are not subject to minimum wage laws. The salaries of minor leaguers are paid by the major league club and not the minor league team. College baseball rarely give out full scholarships due to limits on number of scholarships per team. Continue reading…

Crash Bag #4: Desi Relaford is Salty

In case you hadn’t heard, Desi Relaford thinks Phillies fans are trash. Here’s a counterpoint: Desi Relaford is trash. In parts of five seasons with the Phillies, Relaford came to the plate 1189 times and produced a 66 OPS+. In every single season Relaford was with the Phillies, he was below replacement level.

Here are his WAR totals with the Phillies: -2.0 fWAR and -1.8 bWAR. I have produced exactly 0.0 fWAR and 0.0 bWAR for the Phillies. Therefore, it’s logical to conclude that I’m a better  baseball player than Desi Relaford.

In short, Desi Relaford is a bum and deserves to be booed. Continue reading…

Crash Bag Vol. 45 – Poetry And Prospects And Punters (Wait…Quarterbacks, Not Punters)

I greet you with this query from Poet Laureate of The Phils Blogosphere:

My response to this reference to an interesting quote from our new field manager, is a verse for that February day when spring returns to Clearwater, Florida, while the rest of us still slowly move out of winter.

SOIL

As frost wanes
As snow turns to rain
We push through the pains of stagnation
From a long winter spent in shelter
In stillness
Perhaps apathy

In the north
Still-chattering teeth
Remains of a wreath dying on a door
Remains of the season of mirth and cheer
From the midst of the season of death and despair

But in the south
The glorious south
The soil is prepared
Rich
Groomed
The whitest chalk in the straightest lines
The maple and the ash
The leather
The rosin
The reddest of thread
Stitched twice all around the orb

Rejuvenation lurks!

But from now
Until that day
When givers and takers return to their fields
We have hope
Hope
For a man both strong and agile
Prince of the Chesapeake
But for just one spin ‘round the sun
The young flame coveted
Shall not depart
Maybe for like Franklyn Kilome or something, IDK

Do you all think the end needs work? Maybe a little.

Continue reading…

Crash Bag Vol. 43: Missing Doc

We lost a legend this week. As I’m sure you’re aware, Roy Halladay, the greatest pitcher I’ve ever seen, died in a plane crash on Tuesday. He was only 40. And while the baseball world mourns his death, including here at the site, it’s important to remember that, even as we lost Doc, his children and his wife lost Dad. For us, the loss is still personal; he was our idol, our hero, but we saw him from afar. So let’s remember the Halladay family and keep them in your thoughts, as they’re living a nightmare.

It would be fitting to memorialize Doc here with statistics, to definitively show that he’s the best pitcher of his generation and one of the greatest ever, but you already know that. So in the spirit of the Crash Bag, I’m going to share a personal story about Doc. Continue reading…

Doc

Roy Halladay died today. It’s a crushing blow to his family, all his friends in Colorado, Florida, Toronto, and Philadelphia, as well as the Blue Jays and Phillies organizations. It doesn’t really matter that Roy Halladay was one of the best pitchers who ever lived – there’s a plaque in Cooperstown that will go up someday to tell you all about it. The legacy that Roy Halladay leaves behind, at least in the public sphere, is of his work ethic, humility, and spirit.

Continue reading…

2017 Phillies Report Card: Ty Kelly

Ty Kelly was not the most heralded addition to the 2017 roster. In fact, we didn’t really trade for him; it was more that we bought him from Toronto for cash. I don’t know how much “cash considerations” generally is, but I think it’s an insignificant sum.

And Kelly is a relatively insignificant player in the landscape of the MLB. He entered the season a borderline Major Leaguer and played all of one plate appearance with the Mets. He was then designated for assignment and claimed by the Blue Jays where he accrued exactly zero plate appearances. Four days later he was on the Phillies, replacing the injured Aaron Nola.

So after spending eight years in the minors and a cup of coffee with the Mets last year, he was playing for the third team of the season on April 22. He had that quality, a certain Chris Coste ness you might say, that made him, along with Brock Stassi, easy to root for. Unfortunately, like Stassi, Kelly looked the part of a career minor leaguer. He posted a 53 wRC+ in 103 PAs and negative-0.2 fWAR. Continue reading…

You Can’t Make a Unicorn by Putting a Horn on a Horse’s Head

Yesterday Phillies president Andy MacPhail sat down and answered questions about the Phillies rebuild and the direction the team would take going into the offseason. When asked about where they would go with pitching, MacPhail responded with this.

“We get inundated with stories across the game about everybody is looking for starting pitching. Just get two quality starters and we’ll be all set. Well, you might as well look for a unicorn at the same time. It’s tough.”

“You don’t want to be paying for past performance,”…”That’s often what you’re confronted with – someone who has probably logged over 600 innings in the last three years and been a great pitcher and now we’re on the wrong side of 30 and here we go.”Philly.com

Today Bob Brookover wrote a piece with this title “Phillies’ Andy MacPhail must not fear unicorns or long-term pitching contracts” where he argued the Phillies should not be afraid to spend money on pitching. While I don’t disagree that MacPhail might be a big gun shy on the Phillies signing a long term pitching contract, I don’t get the argument that it is a move the Phillies should make right now. In his piece, Brookover argues that the Phillies should follow the example of the Yankees (CC Sabathia), Diamondbacks (Zack Greinke), and Nationals (Max Scherzer) and give a giant contract to an ace level pitcher. Here are those pitchers plus a few more that meet that level of mega contract that Brookover is indicating, more specifically here is the combined line of their 3 seasons prior to being a free agent. Continue reading…

Phillies To Call Up J.P. Crawford: Looking Forward

This piece is a companion to my J.P. Crawford retrospective on Phillies Minor Thoughts.

The most anticipated transaction in the Phillies system for the best 3+ years was the promotion of J.P. Crawford to the majors. It was a move that was meant represent the start of the new age of Philadelphia baseball. Crawford has slipped a bit from this path, but he is still the Phillies top prospect and his promotion is still probably the biggest event of the Phillies 2017 season. Instead of being the start of the new age of Philadelphia baseball, Crawford will be asked to augment what already looks like a bright future highlighted by Odubel Herrera, Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. There has been much written about Crawford over the years and what he might mean to the Phillies, but here on the eve of his callup we get a chance to step back and look at his full minor league resume and see what he might be for the Phillies.

It is hard to translate any sort of statistical defensive numbers from the minors to the majors. What we do know from scouting is that Crawford has great instincts at shortstop and a strong and accurate arm. For the most part he is not a flashy player because his body control makes his motions appear smooth, but he is capable of the making the play deep in the hole at short or making a play on pure athleticism.

Continue reading…