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Philadelphia Phillies 2017 Outlook


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tl;dr version: ?

 

Today's clunker against Miami seems like a great time to start a thread about how the Phillies rebuild, which seemed like it was off to a good start last year, seems to have hit the skids.  They're now owners of the worst record in baseball, 4 wins behind even the lowly Padres.

 

Aaron Nola, who looked like he could be a top-shelf SP2 for the foreseeable future, comes out and lays an egg, getting yanked after 3 innings.  We'll see if there's yet another injury there, but whether it's health or performance, the team's most promising young pitcher has been a major disappointment.

 

Then there was the defense behind him today.  Franco boots a routine grounder in the third, Tommy Joseph breaks toward first base on a ball hit well to his right, then can't get back in time to cover first.  John Kruk was ripping Joseph during the telecast -- "only five mistakes on that play".  Kruk was groaning and making sarcastic comments all game -- I think he's regretting signing on to do color commentary for this garbage fire.

 

Zooming out from today's disaster and looking at the season as a whole: I'd say Maikel Franco has been worthless at the plate, but that wouldn't leave room to talk about how bad Odubel Herrera's been.  Those two seem to have no plan when they step into the box, swinging wildly at anything instead of looking for the pitches they want to hit.  They looked like two of the more promising pieces to build a roster around; now they look like guys who need to spend a long time at AAA to rebuild their entire approach to hitting.  At least they each got hits today, but if I see Herrera do his bat flip on a bloop single one more time, I'm going to drive back to Philly and throw a beer at him.

 

There are plenty of other players to complain about, but not much in the way of fantasy relevance.  The rest of the rotation is in shambles aside from Hellickson, who would be an SP4 on a good team.  Velasquez hit the DL yesterday, was awful before that, and is probably destined for the bullpen because all he does is throw hard until he hurts himself with zero command.  Eickhoff is a one-trick pony with a plus curveball and nothing else to keep hitters off of it.  And it gets worse from there, with guys not even worth mentioning here, and mediocre minor leaguer Ben Lively on the way.

 

The bullpen is a mixed bag.  Hector Neris is fine, but a closer on this team is like racing stripes on a Pontiac Aztek.  Neshek has looked good, but he's old, and not part of the team's long-term plans.  The rest of them are bad to awful, but given how much they've been overworked by starters failing to go deep into games, it might not all be their fault.

 

Even top prospect JP Crawford has had a miserable year.  Rhys Hoskins has been hitting well in AAA, but he wasn't that heralded as a prospect, so who knows if that will translate to the big leagues, and Joseph is blocking him right now with passable hitting even as he's a liability in the field.

 

As a fan, it's been really hard to watch a team that seemed to be putting together a plan to contend in 2018 take some pretty significant steps backward, and there's no team thread for them yet this year, so I just wanted to chronicle the train wreck here for posterity.  It's hard to imagine them contending next year the way this season has unfolded.

Edited by tonycpsu
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The biggest bright spot is Kingery and when your best hope is in AA that tells you how bad the Phils really are at the moment. 

 

There really is zero starting pitching in the farm system. Outside of reliever types. 

Edited by High&Inside
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An embarrassment of a baseball team. And I thought the 90s were tough with this team. I think I would take a game at the Vet in the 90s than a game currently at CBP.

Edited by High&Inside
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Damn, I'm a Padres fan and I thought they had the #1 pick on lock this year with their abomination of a roster, but the Phillies are sweeping in to upset the apple cart.  Touche, Phillies.  Touche.  I didn't know you had it in you to be this putrid.

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So, this happened:

 

RGY0d8m.jpg

 

And he did it in three consecutive innings -- 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.  At this point, you pretty much have to stream any pitcher with a pulse against this dumpster fire of a lineup.

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On 5/31/2017 at 6:08 PM, tonycpsu said:

Even top prospect JP Crawford has had a miserable year.  Rhys Hoskins has been hitting well in AAA, but he wasn't that heralded as a prospect, so who knows if that will translate to the big leagues, and Joseph is blocking him right now with passable hitting even as he's a liability in the field.

I respectfully disagree.  On the contrary, Rhys Hoskins is one of THE most heralded hitting prospects in all the minor leagues.  Official baseball sites rarely give 1B prospects the time of day poo-pooing the position while they tout poor hitting defensive SS types like Crawford.  But just go to the MiLB (Minor League, aka thr prospects) forum here to see what people have been saying about Hoskins for well over a year.  He is blocked by Tommy Joseph right now but is the future power hitter of the Phillies if they can get him up past Joseph some way. 

Hoskins could possibly hit 30 to 35 homers a season.  Taken in all my dynasty leagues as of LAST year.  Now that Bellinger has been called up early this season I can't think of a hitting prospect I want on my dynasty teams more than Hoskins.  Robles and Rodgers and a few others maybe but they are further out.  But hitting prospects ready to go now?  Definitely Hoskins for me.  But Hoskins is not only blocked by Tommy Joseph but by the fact that the Phils have no reason to start his clock since they are going nowhere this season.  All this extra year of control and (separate "arbitration" money issue) Super 2 stuff keep major league ready guys like Hoskins down on the farm.  Hate all that stuff because he is already a major leaguer talent wise trapped in the minors by league and players' union junk.

And the outfield?  Phils have Nick Williams finally hitting well in AAA as well as Dylan Cousins.  Roman Quinn could be the next outfielder up with blazing speed.  They also have a couple of really good outfield prospects at lower levers in their farm system.  Catcher?  Besides Knapp, who is playing in the majors this year, there is Alfaro about ready too.

They have the position players in house in the main.  They have to trade some of those prospects for arms.

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3 minutes ago, The Big Bat Theory said:

I respectfully disagree.  On the contrary, Rhys Hoskins is one of THE most heralded hitting prospects in all the minor leagues.  Official baseball sites rarely give 1B prospects the time of day poo-pooing the position while they tout poor hitting defensive SS types like Crawford.  But just go to the MiLB (Minor League, aka thr prospects) forum here to see what people have been saying about Hoskins for well over a year. 

 

I stand by my statement -- scouts never really cared much for the guy.  I also read the MiLB forum fairly often, but I wasn't talking about being unheralded by fantasy players -- of course we're looking for different things than MLB scouts, Baseball America, BP, MLB Pipeline, etc  Hoskins hsa never made a top 100 list that I'm aware of, and didn't even make the Phillies' top 10 going into last year.  Of course we dynasty players are going to jump on a guy with that kind of power upside, but the scouts barely noticed him until he forced their hand with 38 bombs in AA, and even then, there was talk that it was inflated by the park.  Now that he's doing it in AAA, I would expect him to be showing up on more "real" prospect lists.

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26 minutes ago, tonycpsu said:

 

I stand by my statement -- scouts never really cared much for the guy.  I also read the MiLB forum fairly often, but I wasn't talking about being unheralded by fantasy players -- of course we're looking for different things than MLB scouts, Baseball America, BP, MLB Pipeline, etc  Hoskins hsa never made a top 100 list that I'm aware of, and didn't even make the Phillies' top 10 going into last year.  Of course we dynasty players are going to jump on a guy with that kind of power upside, but the scouts barely noticed him until he forced their hand with 38 bombs in AA, and even then, there was talk that it was inflated by the park.  Now that he's doing it in AAA, I would expect him to be showing up on more "real" prospect lists.

Scouts and sites didn't like Mookie Betts that much either.  At best he was suppose to be a middle-of-the-road major league hitter with a lot of qualms and caveats about even that projection.  These people are not wizards who see infallibly into the future.  And they certainly can't see intangibles like heart and maturing and changing approaches and body size growth even etc etc.  They are about as wrong as they are right outside of the very obvious mega-prospects who get touted pre-draft even.  And some of those mega-prospects fall off the earth.

And, again, 1B position is almost never represented on top 100 lists.  It's the prejudice these lists seem to always have.  Bellinger wasn't making those lists early in his minor league career either.

As for the homers inflated by the park stuff, players have to play where they play.  The PCL players get hammered all the time for that too.  Doesn't mean they or Hoskins can't actually hit in pitcher friendly parks as well.  Hoskins isn't just barely clearing the fence in a hitter's friendly park.  He is crushing the ball period.  And there are hitter friendly parks in the majors too.  So what.  I never have understood that argument.  You can't play all prospects from all teams in some climate controlled dome with vanilla dimensions, controlled humidity levels etc etc to get a "level playing field" base to view them.  Not ever happening.  So to sleep on players hitting well in hitter friendly parks in the minors is yet another failing by these experts to see the forest instead of the trees.

Edited by The Big Bat Theory
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If you want to keep trying to refute arguments I'm not making, go right ahead, but my statement was that the non-fantasy scouting community didn't think much of him, and that's unquestionably right.  Everything you're saying about his potential fantasy impact is correct -- I own the guy in my dynasty league, so you don't need to sell me.  I also agree that scouts go too far discounting minor league power because of park factors, but I'm not a scout, so I don't understand why you feel the need to get on your soapbox on one phrase that, in context, wasn't making the point you're arguing against.

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As a Marlins fan, I get to watch them play the Phillies a lot, and I think Odubel Herrera's bat flips have to be one of the most annoying things in baseball right now. He looks like an idiot every time. 

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  • 1 month later...

There's no way around it, the Phillies are bad this year.  Really bad.  I may be in the minority here though, that looking forward a few years there's some reason for hope. Currently they have the 3rd youngest average batter age, 5th youngest pitcher age. In the next 3-4 years you'll have

 

C: Alfaro

1B: Hoskins

2B: Kingery

SS: Crawford

3B: Franco

OF: some combo of Altherr, Williams, Herrera, Moniak +/- other guys

 

SP: I think very highly of Nola, and Sixto looks really impressive (I think he will be one of the fastest climbers up prospect lists over the next year or so) so you have the potential (key word) upper end starters to anchor their rotation. The rest...who knows.

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That really isn't THAT bad. Now it's impossible to project that far in advance in baseball and it requires A LOT of luck and things to break their way.  For example, Kingery and Hoskins need to translate.  Herrera needs to get his head out of his a** long enough to find some consistency. Crawford needs to at least be a serviceable bat in the majors. Franco...well Franco needs to go probably. But overall that's a fairly talented young inexpensive team. 

 

Furthermore they'll have a ton of room to spend, particularly being in one of the bigger markets in the league. If they think they can sniff a wild card I can see them bringing some significant free agent talent.  And sniffing a wild card may not be as far fetched as people think in the NL East.  The Marlins seem to be priming to start a rebuild. The Mets seem intent on ruining their entire pitching staff and have the 4th oldest batter age in the league.  The Nationals have a young stud in Turner and significant talent waiting in the minors (eg Robles), but also are potentially losing Bryce in 2019 and have multiple key offensive pieces who will be 35+ in 3 years. The Braves have some young guys on their way in Albies and Acuna who could turn them into an offensive Juggernaut, but pitching remains a problem.

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tl;dr The Phillies are awful, but I don't think their near-future outlook is nearly as bad as most people think with some young cheap talent coming soon, a ton of spending room, and 2 teams (plus potentially the Nationals...too early to tell there) likely to regress in their division. 

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  • 1 month later...

Hoskins looking as good as advertised. Herrera was on fire before getting injured. Crawford turned things in the minors in a big way. Nola staying strong. 

 

It's an incredibly low standard but this is the most optimistic I've been about the Phillies in years. It's still a long road at least they're heading in the right direction. 

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The staff still needs a lot of help behind Nola.  I'm not entirely sure he's a true #1 to begin with, but the improvements to swinging strike rate make me pretty sure he's at least a high-end #2, so I'd be okay heading into next season with him anchoring the staff.  But the minor league options are pretty raw and not ready for prime time yet.  I don't see them making a big push for an Arrieta/Darvish -- it seems more likely they'll target a mid-rotation arm or maybe two depending on how they feel about the guys like Pivetta/Lively/Leiter after seeing more of them in September.

 

From what I've seen, Pivetta's an SP6 with SP3 upside, Leiter's looking like a potential SP5 but probably doesn't have much of a ceiling beyond that, and Lively's just a guy who needs more minor league seasoning.  I'd want to add at least one mid-rotation FA heading into next season, and there will be some options out there for a team like the Phillies who were willing to overpay Hellickson.

 

But the lineup, yeah, it's pretty exciting to see these options emerge.  At this point, it's an open question if Franco can keep his job, and Williams/Herrera/Altherr is looking like a credible major league outfield.

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He's raw but I'm pretty excited by Sixto.  I agree though the pitching will be a question mark.  If Nola and at least one more can be an SP 2/3 though I'd be happy.  As you said if they can build a solid lineup with homegrown talent they'll be able to afford pitchers down the road. 

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