2017 Phillies Report Card: J.P. Crawford

J.P. Crawford played some baseball in the majors last year. There’s not a lot of #analysis to do with 87 plate appearances, but the real story is that Crawford finally made it to Philadelphia and showed he could handle himself at the highest level. In that limited playing time last September, Crawford displayed the three core aspects of his game that carried him from Lakewood High through the Phillies’ minor league system: an ability to get on base, control of the strike zone, and excellent defense. Continue reading…

Crash Bag S2018 Volume #1: Baseball Is Back

In just under a week the Phillies will be playing their first baseball game of the year as they try to not lose to a bunch of college students. Until then it is time for fuzzy pictures of players stretching, worry about the state of the rotation, and apparently a picture of my cat.

@DaleACooke: I love Roman Quinn at SS bc elevates flexibility joe Maddon-esque. Are Phillies looking to others for this (Altherr, Williams,Kingery)?

I want to touch on Quinn first. He has not played SS since 2014, and he wasn’t amazing at the position back then. Quinn is not going to be the primary infield backup. However, if the Phillies run with only 4 bench players and one of them is Altherr/Williams and another is a catcher, that leaves two spots left, one of which must play infield. If you ever want to use that hitter as a hitter (say a defensive replacement, pinch hitter, punch runner), then you need that other player to be able to play shortstop if everyone gets hurt. If Quinn can be that, then he can be that 4th bench player. Continue reading…

2017 Phillies Report Card: Freddy Galvis

I haven’t been particularly kind to Freddy Galvis in the past on this site, but I think I’m still going to miss him a little bit in 2018. El Falcon’s 2017 season turned out to be his last one in red pinstripes, as he’s now a San Diego Father. Freed from the burden of having to evaluate Galvis in the context of J.P. Crawford, I want to take a fresh look at Freddy and see if time, distance, and a twinge of nostalgia can change my mind.

In 2017, at age 27 Freddy Galvis probably had his most complete season as a major leaguer. He set single-season career bests in games played (162), plate appearances (663), hits (155), doubles (29), triples (6), runs (71), walk rate (6.8%), OBP (.309), wOBA (.298), and wRC+ (80). From that standpoint alone I give him full marks, and considering the value of reliability (he played literally every day) and nearly top tier fielding at shortstop, Galvis probably earned something like a C grade. On the other hand, topping out at a .309 OBP is Exhibit A for my general lack of interest in Galvis. Continue reading…

The Phillies Need to Acquire Another Starting Pitcher

Yu Darvish just received a 6 year contract from the Cubs. Darvish is the first of the major free agent starting pitchers to sign, leaving Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb, and Lance Lynn all currently unsigned. All three of them rejected their qualifying offers and with Darvish getting below anticipated market, but not dramatically so, they should all get paid close to market. Right now the Phillies are projecting a rotation of Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta, and Ben Lively. Continue reading…

2017 Phillies Report Card: Hector Neris

In a 2016 bullpen marred by some blindingly bad performances, Hector Neris and Jeanmar Gomez helped the Phillies the Phillies have a great win percentage in 1 run games. Gomez fell apart down the stretch, leaving Neris as the only reliable bullpen arm in the Phillies opening day bullpen.

In 2017, Pete Mackanin made Jeanmar Gomez his closer with Neris instaled in the 8th inning. When Gomez inevitably blew up, Pete turned to Joaquin Benoit, who also blew up. Neris was then installed in the closer role on April 20 and he responded with a clean 1-2-3 inning. He then proceed to give up a run in 4 of his next 5 appearances, capped by 3 home run and 4 runs to the Dodgers on the road on April 29. Continue reading…

2017 Phillies Report Card: Bullpen Breakouts

I realize it has now been over a month since the last post here and posts were not frequent before that. I am still trying to figure out how to get everything done. With my prospect list finished I am going to doing a mad rush to finish out the report cards here before we launch into yet another baseball season. Thank you for bearing with us.

Early in the 2017 season the Phillies bullpen was much maligned. Pat Neshek was good, Neris was shaky, and Joaquin Benoit and Jeanmar Gomez were blowing games. By midseason, the Phillies had traded Neshek and Benoit, and released Gomez. And yet, in the second half the Phillies posted the 10th best bullpen ERA in baseball. This was while Jesen Therrien and Ricardo Pinto pitched nearly 40 innings of 9 ERA baseball. So how do you turn around a bullpen midseason without acquiring any players?

Player A:

  • April – July: 28 IP 6.43 ERA 12 BB 30 K
  • August – September: 26.2 IP 1.69 ERA 6 BB 33 K

Player B: 

  • April – June: 31 IP 5.52 ERA 22 BB 38K
  • August – September: 26.2 IP 2.70 ERA 6 BB 37 K

Player C:

  • April – May: 15.2 IP 2.30 ERA 4 BB 7 K
  • June – July: 55.2 IP 2.75 ERA 22 BB 53 K

Continue reading…

2017 Phillies Report Card: César Hernández

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I’ve had an up and down opinion of César Hernández since his debut – originally I thought he was on his way to being the kind of player he finally became, but in between I was…kind of mean to him on this here website.

I thought for most of 2016 that César Hernández was a fake. A fraud. A phony, playing the role of a big league second baseman, and at some point, his mound-dwelling counterparts would expose him like so many skinny middling one-half-of-the-middle-of-the infielders are exposed much earlier on in their pro careers. But in 2017 César Hernández proved he wasn’t an imposter, but rather a capable hitter with good enough skills elsewhere to make him an easy first-division second baseman. This all was allowed to unfold as it did, in part because of a little used roster tool – THE FOURTH OPTION *50s B-Horror-Movie sound effect*.

Continue reading…

Sad News From The Crashburn Alley Family

Just a quick note here for any of you that were not already aware – Matt’s mother passed away this week. Matt has been with family a lot the last few weeks and wanted to let everyone know that this is part of the reason for the lack of activity on the site recently. Of course, the rest of us extend our heartfelt condolences during this trying time. For anyone wishing to add some light to the world in memory of our friend’s departed loved one:

We come to this place as a refuge.
We each enter here and our other safe places knowing that our troubles do no cease to be.
But we take comfort in knowing that those inside are also here with sometimes-heavy hearts.
And that many inside will stand with us, shoulder to shoulder, no matter our ailment.
Willing to provide whatever we may be lacking in a time of need.
Let us all be that person today, in whatever capacity we can.
For our friend and his kin.
For our own families, blood or not.
For our neighbors.
Our companions and acquaintances.
And let us all honor the recently departed as they wished, with compassion for those still here and still burdened, and if practical, with material support for the stranger who needs little more than a meal and a bed to get through to tomorrow.

Phillies Remake Roster Quickly Day After Winter Meetings

The winter meetings ended yesterday and then today the Phillies decided to upend everything.

Last things first, the Phillies officially signed Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek, with both taking the empty spots on the 40 man roster. Both deals have large signing bonuses and small annual salaries. This won’t affect luxury tax money, but it does move money around enough that the Phillies could offset a low payroll by front loading their money for when they spend next year.

The first deal of the night was the Phillies shipping shortstop Freddy Galvis to San Diego Padres for RHP Enyel De Los Santos. The Phillies trading Galvis was not surprising, it is no secret that the Phillies were strongly shopping Galvis and listening on his double play partner Cesar Hernandez. Hernandez still could be dealt, but unlike Galvis the Phillies don’t need to move Hernandez. De Los Santos will join a Phillies farm system heavy in pitching. Like many of the arms already in the system, De Los Santos has his flaws. In his case it is a poor breaking ball. Otherwise he has a potentially plus changeup and a mid 90s fastball with life. He profiles as a #4 starter, but there might be some more upside if he can improve his third pitch. It is a good return for an expiring contract on a flawed player.

Then the Phillies decide to get weird. 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…