Is It Time To Call Up Aaron Nola?

Scouts and baseball front office employees must tire of preaching patience when it comes to prospects. Player development in the game of baseball is an agonizingly slow process and even though the most informed and enlightened fan knows and accepts this fact, the impatience to see top prospects called up is innate in all baseball fans. If you love baseball, of course you want to see Kris Bryant, Joey Gallo, Joc Pederson, and [Insert Your Favorite Team’s Top Prospect Here] playing at the highest level.

“Patience is a virtue” is nothing more than a bullshit saying we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel better about circumstances beyond our control. Waiting is frustratingly dull and in player development it doesn’t make the end result any sweeter. Baseball fans generally have to wait 2-5 years to see a drafted player finally reach the big leagues. Football fans see top draftees play in the NFL the very same year they are drafted. Does this give baseball fans a better appreciation for their players? Of course not, but it’s a necessary evil and so, we wait.

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Mariners Have Interest in Ben Revere, Misinformation Abounds

CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reported yesterday that the Seattle Mariners have shown interest in potentially trading for outfielder Ben Revere. That report was confirmed by Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune, who added that GM Ruben Amaro reportedly asked for either Taijuan Walker or James Paxton (currently injured), two highly-regarded young pitchers.

Given that Revere is an average-at-best outfielder whose salary will only continue to climb from this year’s $4.1 million over his next two years of arbitration eligibility, the reported asking price is ridiculous. As Amaro has been a media piñata for the last three years, Dutton’s report was accepted unquestionably and the Amaro-bashing ensued. One problem: Amaro denied the report. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:

“Typically we would not comment on rumors. But when they reach this level of ridiculousness, I can say unequivocally that what has been written is false.”

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Ryne Sandberg Continues to Misuse Cole Hamels and Justin De Fratus

I meant to write about this on Monday, but there was whole MLB Draft thing going on. The Phillies lost their series opener in Cincinnati against the Reds 6-4. Cole Hamels started and pitched poorly for the first time since May 2. Meanwhile, the offense squandered plenty of opportunities against an unsharp Mike Leake.

The game featured two of my bigger pet peeves with manager Ryne Sandberg this season: Hamels was overworked, and reliever Justin De Fratus was misused yet again.

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Thoughts on Cornelius Randolph and Second Round Pick Scott Kingery

As Bill reported earlier, The Phillies grabbed Georgia HS bat Cornelius Randolph with the tenth overall selection in the 2015 draft on Monday night. Randolph played short in high school, but like many high school shortstops, he doesn’t project to stay there in the pros, and Johnny Almaraz has already stated the club will force him off the infield in his pro debut, likely at Williamsport in the rookie level New York Penn League. That’s a fairly aggressive assignment for a high school kid, and it speaks to his hit tool being one of the strongest among prep players in this year’s draft. The club obviously feels he’ll handle himself at the plate while he works on ramping up his defense in left field. Continue reading…

All Signs Point To Kyle Tucker (Maybe)

It’s been a kind of Magic Eight Ball draft season for the Phillies, who pick number 10 tonight. We heard Vanderbilt RHP Walker Buehler’s name at that pick a couple times, mostly a couple weeks ago now, and that’s tapered off as his stock slips a little into the mid-teens. We’ve more recently been hearing the Phils like Tyler Stevenson, a catcher from Kennesaw Mountain HS in Georgia, or maybe a college bat (Cincinnati 2B/CF Ian Happ has been mentioned, and Scout.com still has him as The Phils pick as of their last mock). But the rumblings started last night when FanGraphs Kiley McDaniel (@KileyMcD) tweeted that several lower names could be picked in the Top 10 based on signability issues.

Then this morning, for the first time, we have mock drafts with a player from the seven or eight guys at the top of most boards available when the Phils pick tonight. That someone is Kyle Tucker. BA’s John Manuel and MLB.com‘s Jon Mayo and Jim Callis all have the Plant HS (FL) OF falling to the Phils. For the record, I would be totally fine with that turn of events. (FYI – McDaniel has yet to release his final mock, though follow him on Twitter and I’m sure you’ll hear about it this afternoon, and since publishing this post, Keith Law put his Insider Mock up at ESPN with Tucker the pick as well).

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Maikel Franco Has Been Timely with His Hits

Maikel Franco has only logged 21 games thus far this season, but he’s made the most of it even with an ugly 2-for-27 stretch in the final week of May. He homered in three of four games to open the month of June, contributing to two comeback wins against the Cincinnati Reds. Those two contributions, plus one earlier in the year in Colorado against the Rockies, have him taking up three of the top-six spots for the biggest contributions in terms of Win Percent Added (WPA).

WPA, simply put, tells you how much a player contributed to his team’s odds of winning. It can be used for a singular play or for contributions across an entire game or any select period of time. The aforementioned list references total game contributions:

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The Phillies, Somehow, Have Been Fun to Watch

When one enters a baseball season with a #2-5 rotation that includes Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams, Sean O’Sullivan, and — eventually — Chad Billingsley, one can expect a lot of poor ballgames. Add in that the outfield included veteran retreads in Jeff Francoeur and Grady Sizemore, and… woof. It was going to be a rough (pun not intended) season to watch.

But that hasn’t been the case this year. The Phillies, after dropping Friday night’s game to the San Francisco Giants 5-4, have won or lost by one run in 17 of 56 games (30 percent). They rallied late to win against the Cincinnati Reds on June 2 and 3, including erasing a four-run deficit against flamethrowing left-hander Aroldis Chapman.

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The Absurdity of Pitchers Hitting (Bring It On, Haters)

I have been mulling over my stance on the Designated Hitter for a while, and hashing it out on Twitter with other diehard types leads to some good discussion. I always stall on one thing that’s too long to describe in 140 characters: Pitchers hitting is completely absurd in comparison to other sports. It’s its success in spite of that absurdity that I think draws so many people to keeping the DH out of the National League. But the charming 13 out of 100 successes NL pitchers enjoy in order to maintain an OBP of .133 thus far in 2015 is not enough for me. American League DHs average a .332 OBP. That’s significantly better (I did the math in my head) and more fun to watch than mostly hoping for a stroke of luck. Continue reading…