Phillies Are Having Second Half Pitching Problems

Young pitching was supposed to be a strength of the Phillies this season, but as we all know, pitching can be unpredictable. As of right now, the Phillies have a team ERA of 4.56 on the season, which is good for 20th in baseball. On a more granular basis, their starters are actually 17th in baseball, and their relievers are 23rd. The reasons for these declines are many and include injuries, trades, and just being bad. However, baseball does not accept excuses in place of starts, so the Phillies still have to figure out a pitching staff to get through the end of the season. So how do you do that when you don’t have any veterans and you aren’t very good?

The one pitcher in all of this that the Phillies don’t have to worry about is Aaron Nola. In the second half he has a 1.85 ERA, and in 10 starts since allowing 5 runs to Arizona on June 16, he has a 1.71 ERA over 68.1 innings.

The other pitcher who has rejoined that category is Jerad Eickhoff. He hasn’t been as dominant as Nola, but in his 7 starts since returning from the DL, he has a 3.18 ERA over 39.2 innings. He is no longer hemorrhaging home runs, and his strikeout rate is back up as well. Continue reading…

Crash Bag Vol. 32: The Infield of the Future and Boozin’ With Phillies

I would like to start this Crash Bag off by revisiting my well-thought-out, certainly-not-off-the-cuff Bobble-WorthinessTM rankings from a few Crash Bags ago. With Odubel Herrera’s recent sizzlin’ hot streak, he’s on pace for nearly four wins this season. By my criteria from that post, Herrera is on pace to be legitimately Bobble-WorthyTM next season. PUT IT ON THE SCHEDULE, PHILLIES.

Stay tuned for more hard-hitting bobblehead analysis.

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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…

A 30 Game Nick Williams Check Up

On June 30th the Phillies finally called up a major hitting prospect. Since then, Nick Williams has hit .289/.325/.535 in the majors with 5 home runs in his 30 games. Williams’ arrival in the majors coincided with an improvement in the Phillies offense (it turns out everyone in the lineup was better in July). With Aaron Altherr’s repeated injuries, Williams looks to have a hold on an outfield spot for the rest of the season. So now 30 games into his season, how is Nick Williams holding up? Continue reading…

Crash Bag Vol. 31: Looking Back 3 Years

The trade deadline is over, and the Phillies traded nearly everyone they could and got some stuff back. The team is still bad, and a sweep at the hands of the Angels reinforced that the bullpen is a major problem and the starting pitching is shaky on days when Aaron Nola doesn’t pitch. But, let’s just forget about all of that and take a step back in time to talk about some prospects and some of your other questions this week.

@PaulSocolar: Your 2014 prspct list led w Crawford-Nola-Franco; top 10 also had Biddle-Sandberg-Dugan. Where would those 3s 2014 selves be on current list

I am just going to go for the whole list and not just the groupings of 3. For those that want to read 3 year old wrong opinions, here is the link, but for those with less time, here is my 2014 midseason top 10 (which I have no clue why I wrote it on June 24).

  1. J.P. Crawford
  2. Aaron Nola
  3. Maikel Franco
  4. Roman Quinn
  5. Jesse Biddle
  6. Deivi Grullon
  7. Cord Sandberg
  8. Carlos Tocci
  9. Kelly Dugan
  10. Aaron Altherr

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The Phillies Have a Bullpen Problem

It shouldn’t be surprising that the Phillies have made themselves worse by trading away major league baseball players at the deadline. The Phillies had built in replacements for Howie Kendrick and Jeremy Hellickson in Daniel Nava (with Nick Williams playing LF everyday) and Jake Thompson (with a whole string of AAA starters available if he faltered). What the Phillies are unprepared for is the moving Pat Neshek and Joaquin Benoit out of high leverage innings. This isn’t really a fault of the Phillies, because if they had extra high leverage arms they probably would have shipped them out too. In the wake of the trades, the Phillies had to use Luis Garcia and Hector Neris for three straight days in order to complete a 4 game sweep of the Braves. This forced a call up of Drew Anderson from AA for the night. With Anderson sent down last night, this is how the bullpen stands.

  • RHP Hector Neris – 3.12 ERA
  • RHP Luis Garcia – 2.25 ERA
  • RHP Mark Leiter Jr. – 4.86 ERA
  • RHP Jesen Therrien – 20.25 ERA (1.1 IP)
  • LHP Hoby Milner – 4.22 ERA
  • LHP Adam Morgan – 6.43 ERA
  • RHP Edubray Ramos* – 5.52 ERA

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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…

Crash Bag Vol. 30: The Next Great Phillies Team

Late last week, there was word from the front office that the Crash Bag was involved in a potential trade, and so it was pulled from its regularly scheduled appearance on Friday. But the buyers backed out at the last minute to pursue a less costly upgrade. Consider this post safe for now. Although there are still a few hours before the deadline.

joelrineer: If you had to pick 3 of Altherr, Herrera, Quinn, Williams, Cozens, Tocci, Randolph, Moniak, Haseley who would you take and why?

I take the two birds in hand. Herrera and Altherr are both good players, and it would not shock me to see either post a 5+ WAR season at some point in the future. The Phillies need good position player talent and these two fit that description. It would take a clear cut superstar to supplant either one and I don’t see that among the rest of the players listed.

As to those players and the coveted third spot, here is what we are considering.

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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…

One of These Things Is Not Like the Others: 2017 Odubel Herrera

I wanted to write about Odubel Herrera even before we had to have inane discussion of trading him because of two aesthetically unpleasing plays in Tuesday’s game. Entering Wednesday, Odubel Herrera is now batting .272/.316/.438, and when you combine that with his excellent outfield defense, he is also sporting a 1.8 to 1.9 (f)WAR(P). That is just off of the roughly 4 wins a year he has put up the the previous two seasons, but is on pace to be a valuable major leaguer.

Herrera having a good, but not great season, is not really a reason to write an article, so this is obviously about more than that.  So now for a game. Can you spot the difference?

AVG OBP SLG
A .286 .361 .420
B .262 .340 .417
C .183 .196 .257
D .321 .351 .519
E .348 .408 .623

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