Phillies Call Up Rhys Hoskins

Earlier this week the Phillies announced they were moving their best pure hitting prospect from first base to left field to accommodate Tommy Joseph staying at first base. I have a lot of thoughts about what the move means strategically, but what is done is done. What that move does mean is that the Phillies are finally promoting Rhys Hoskins, just as an outfielder and not a first baseman. For the second year in a row Hoskins is one of the best hitters in minor league baseball, and this time he is doing it in a more neutral environment as opposed to the hitting paradise that is Reading.

Without talking about position or league context, we need to talk about Hoskins the baseball player. At the plate Hoskins features a simple swing, he has a bit of a leg kick, but overall is swing is quiet. He gets good loft with it, but it also isn’t a complete uppercut. Most of his contact is going to be to the pull side, but he does have the power to go the opposite way. When he first came up there were a lot of questions about his raw power, and they are mostly fair as his power is probably plus, maybe it is plus plus. What he has done incredibly well over the years is to refine his approach and pitch recognition. This has allowed him to get the most out of his raw tools, and so while his raw power doesn’t measure up to Dylan Cozens, he is able to match him in actualized production. Hoskins is mostly a fastball hitter, but he will crush mistakes over the plate. He has less frequently expanded the strike zone in the upper levels, but can still chase breaking balls. The complete package is one fairly light on weaknesses. This season he has reverse platoon splits, but only 123 PAs against LHPs so it is hard to read too much into his relative struggles vs them, given that he crushed them in 2016. This year he has walked more than he has struck out vs RHPs which is a stark improvement on last season where he had a 50 to 97 walk to strikeout rate vs same side pitching. Overall he should be an average hitter (.260-.270) with a good on base percentage, and he has the power to hit 30+ home runs a year with an equal amount of doubles. He might have a bit more ceiling than that if he can maintain his AAA strikeout rate, but I would expect it to regress back towards 20% from the 15.8% it is at right now. Continue reading…

Phillies Trade Pat Neshek, Now What?

Last night the Phillies shipped their best relief pitcher out of town for a trio of prospects that won’t be helping the Phillies any time soon. I wrote about those prospects here so I don’t want to just write the same thing here. Instead the Phillies are now down their best relief pitcher right when the team was starting to shown some signs of life. Additionally, after there was a road map for what a trade like this might return, the Phillies opted to go for a completely different route in what they got back from the Rockies. Continue reading…

Phillies Finally Call Up Some Prospects, Also DFA Gomez and Saunders

Matt Klentak finally answered everyone’s angry tweets and comments, and made a roster move!

Let’s start with the named players in this deal. The Phillies have cut ties with their opening day closer and right fielder. Yes, Jeanmar Gomez and Michael Saunders have both been designated for assignment by the Phillies. Both players were supposed to be stop gaps to the future and instead were leaky sieves. Gomez got another crack at the closer role this year, but proved he couldn’t hold down that or a low leverage inning role. Michael Saunders was supposed to be the answer to the Phillies problems in right field (he wasn’t). He had a poor second half in 2016, but still posted a .253/.338/.478 season line. This year he did everything worse but strikeout, instead he traded some of those for more weak contact. In the end, Saunders hit .205/.257/.360 over 61 games and 214 plate appearances. The Phillies had a team option on Saunders and Gomez was a free agent so there is no longer term impact on the Phillies. Continue reading…

Howie Kendrick to Begin Rehab Assignment

The Phillies have been really bad. This has moved most discussions about the team to focus on how to fix the Phillies. In the wake of Daniel Nava’s injury and Michael Saudners’ poor start the focus has shifted to calling up Roman Quinn. It does appear the Phillies have some outfield help on the way, just not in the form of the 24 year old speedster. Instead this happened today.

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Nola Injured and the Phillies Make a Trade

The Phillies 40 man roster will be a story all year, as they navigate the 11 players they added in front of the Rule 5 draft. With Clay Buchholz’s season ending injury and Elniery Garcia’s PED suspension, the roster opened up some. This was all just in time for injuries to hit the Phillies elsewhere.

The heart attack inducing injury was to Aaron Nola’s back. Right now, all indications are that Nola will only miss a start or two on this DL trip, but the news caused some level of panic anyway. The corresponding move is fairly obvious. Nick Pivetta has gotten off to a hot start and is both on the 40 man roster and on turn in the rotation. Pivetta probably needs more time in AAA, but he should be fine to make a 1 to 2 start cameo in the majors. The Phillies could choose to go with a bullpen game in those starts instead, but all signs point to Pivetta making his debut. Continue reading…

The Return of Zach Eflin

Clay Buchholz is officially out for the season. Even if Buchholz had stayed healthy, it was likely that the Phillies were going to have a major pitcher injury at some point. The good news is the Phillies are strong in major league ready starting pitching. This time, the Phillies are not dipping down into the prospects, instead going with 23 year old, not quite a rookie, Zach Eflin.

This is the second year in which Eflin was called up after the Phillies experienced a starting pitcher injury. His first trip to the majors was not good, and he posted a 5.54 ERA over 63.1 innings. Now that number is a bit deceptive, because you break his season up into 3 distinct time periods.

First MLB Start: 2.2 IP – 27.00 ERA – 9 H – 3 BB – 2 K – 3 HR

Seven Solid Starts: 47.2 IP – 2.08 ERA – 36 H – 5 BB – 24 K – 3 HR

Three Injured Starts: 13.0 IP – 13.85 ERA – 22 H – 9 BB – 5 K – 6 HR Continue reading…

Phillies Clarify Catching Situation

For a team without many established players, the Phillies did not have many camp battles this season. Coming into the year there were two bench spots and one bullpen spot up for competition. One spot that was not considered up for debate was backup catcher. After a spring of that position not looking secure, the Phillies solidified on Monday that Andrew Knapp will be the backup to Cameron Rupp to open the 2017 season when they released veterans Bryan Holaday and Ryan Hanigan.

From a roster standpoint, Andrew Knapp making the Phillies opening day roster made sense for both the player and the team. If you hadn’t noticed, the Phillies are facing a 40 man roster crunch and are running out of players they are willing to cut loose to make room. With Jorge Alfaro and Cameron Rupp as the only other catchers on the roster, any non-Knapp option would require freeing up a roster spot. Then there would have been what to do with Knapp in AAA, where Alfaro would be getting most of the at bats. Depending on who fills out the rest of the Phillies bench, Knapp might receive more playing time in the majors than the minors. Continue reading…

Indians Return Rule 5 Pick Hoby Milner

Due to the unfinished CBA and a deep farm system the Phillies were forced to protect 11 players on the 40 man roster from the Rule 5 draft. They did leave a couple of players unprotected, the most notable and major league ready was LHP Hoby Milner. The Indians took Milner in the Rule 5 draft and added him to their 40 man roster. At the time the only left handed reliever on their roster was Andrew Miller. For the Phillies it depleted their already low supply of left handed arms.

As much as Milner looked like a lock to stick when the Indians took him in the draft, that changed dramatically when the Indians signed LHP Boone Logan a little bit later. This week the Indians admitted that they wanted the roster spot and offered Milner back to the Phillies, who accepted. Milner did not have a good spring for the Indians (7.0 IP 9.00 ERA 3 BB 9 K), but he will report directly to major league camp for the Phillies. Continue reading…

Phillies trade Severino Gonzalez for PTBNL or Cash

In a startlingly inconsequential move, the Phillies have traded RHP Severino Gonzalez to the Marlins for cash or a Player to be Named Later. A move seemed imminent as Gonzalez was designated for assignment following the last week’s signing of Michael Saunders. The former Phillies top ten prospect has sputtered in his two years in the Majors, posting an ERA just below 7 in 66 innings split between the rotation and the bullpen.

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