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Tuesday, July 03, 2012


Before anyone gets excited about Leandro Castro, let it sink in for a moment just how bad the guy has to be at drawing walks in order to have a .311 BA and a .338 OBP over 285 PAs.

That's almost as awesome as Sebastian Valle:

.252 AVG/.271 OBP in 251 PA.

Can't wait for our stellar coaching and development staff gets ahold of them. They really know how to mold a raw player into shape.

But Darin Ruf is considered over the hill at soon to be 26 his line:
with 14 HR and only 3 Errors at 1B.
He will be allowed to just sit there and go nowhere fast.
WHy he couldn't have had a tryout while Howard was out is a bit of mystery given the power and fielding issues we have had at that position.

Have a great 4th everyone!

Not that I think Darin Ruf is going to pave his way to Cooperstown but do you honestly think Amaro, Jr. would want to create another scenario like the one that surfaced between Howard and Thome in 2005? The guy has enough headaches, many of which are his own doing. They thought they could bide their time with a platoon there. Somewhere along the line they lost the info about how it takes a full year to recover from an achilles injury.

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the Phillies spending over $1 million yesterday on signing a couple of young Dominican prospects.

Also, there's the fact that Darin Ruf would almost surely be a worse major-league player than John Mayberry or Ty Wigginton.

JW: "If you're tired of flashy outfielders with high athleticism and low baseball skills, then Castro is just for you."

Um, have you seen Leandro play? He is extremely flashy. Bat-flips and one-handed basket catches galore.

I think you are confusing flashy with what many here have been referring to as 'toosly', as if its a bad thing to have a lot of tools. He is a much more rounded prospect with lower ceilings, but does a lot of things right.

He is probably shorter than jimmy rollins by over an inch or so, but a thicker build and generates a lot of power for his size from an impressive swing. Would be a plus MLB defender in the corners, altho no tremendous speed or arm to boast.

As BAP pointed out, the power he offers is negated by a very poor walk rate and strikes out as much as a 50HR guy than a ~15HR guy which is easily his biggest detractor.

I've liked him as a player for long time, but he's been a "sleeper" for way too long, his time is running short. He needs to maintain his current slashline all year long to have any value. Sadly, this hotstreak has been scorching just to get him here, he'll have to play over his head the rest of the year to keep that line.

Steve Jelts, well said at the end of the last thread.

Why I always say, decisions should be judged based on the information known at the time the decision was made.

That was impressive (the Dominican signings)

Pair of lefty starters in Clearwater: Adam Morgan and Austin Wright are probably the biggest movers up the prospect chain in terms of pitchers.

I was under the impression that Leandro Castro is precisely the kind of toolsy, athletic, and unrefined prospect whom the Phillies are in the habit of collecting. He's fast (though a bad base stealer). He's got some pop. And he's -- from what I've heard -- a very good defensive outfielder. But that OBP is ghastly.

The fact that he can hit for average certainly makes him more interesting than guys like Hewitt and Jiwan James. But if he can't learn to draw walks at a passable rate, he'll never be anything more than a backup outfielder, at best.

Does anyone anywhere within this organization draw walks?

Austin Wright looks like the real deal (ie, an actual SP prospect)

***Does anyone anywhere within this organization draw walks?***

Jonathan Singleton...oh wait.

Larry Greene has shown a good ability to draw walks in the early going too.

Well, here's the thing. If Castro could actually hit .300 consistently at the major-league level, he's a player regardless of his walk rate, especially if he has a little pop. A .300/.340/.440 hitter has enough value to play at the major league level (see Placido Polanco's peak, or Howie Kendrick), especially if they can add something on defense.

The issue is that the margin for error is tiny, and that the minor leagues are filled with failed prospects who could hit .300 at AA but couldn't crack .270 in the Show. If you slip to .275 or below, or lose any power, then you become a bad offensive player that can't really justify being in the lineup ever. And, needless to say, hitting .300 consistently in the majors is really, really hard. That's why Castro isn't rated that highly--because scouts and analysts are rightly skeptical of his ability to hit for a high average in the bigs, which is where all his value comes from.

But bap, Jiwan James is transitioning from pitching, its only natural that he's a bit raw. What's that, its been 4 seasons now and he still sucks? Oh, nevermind then.

joed: No, most players who can work walks are usually power threats, and the Phillies just flat out down really have 1.

You'd have to go to last year's draft pick Larry Greene to find a slugger who can use it to scare pitchers away. He's got 11 BB in his first 60 PA as a professional -- although his actual 'slugger' hasn't come out yet with 0 HR.

There's also the fact that Polly made the majors for much the same reason Galvis did this year....great defense up the middle.

His bat was never good in the minors.

Reduced to watching the development of minor league players by the 4th of July. Ugh.

Gotta be honest, the logical part of me agrees that a solid offensive player needs to know how to draw a few walks, to be considered a legit prospect. But the part of me that is a bit worn out on station-to-station small ball this season, with no ability to drive in runs with RISP couldn't really give less of a damn. I'd like just one legit high slugging XBH guy. If he K's a bit and doesn't walk too much, I'll deal with it.

I know Howard is coming back, but I'm not expecting much power, and with his usual high K rate, it could be ugly for awhile.

Pence cam be this guy is he gets his head out of you-know-where.

I guess what I'm saying is, I miss Pat the Bat...

*I'm not saying Castro is that kind of player.

Ryan Howard looks like Tony Gwynn in these rehab highlights I see. I guess all the people who complained about his K rate will be thrilled to see this new reincarnation of a slap hitter.

How much motivation do you really have to draw walks when you're a developing kid and one of the better impact bats on your team? Seems like there are some signs that he understands the zone, no?

Pat the Bat was a good OBP player along with his power...kinda why he was a #1 pick overall.

15.9% walk rate in the minors.
14.3% walk rate in the majors.

A .300/.340/.440 hitter has enough value to play at the major league level (see Placido Polanco's peak, or Howie Kendrick), especially if they can add something on defense.

Those numbers make for a rather humdrum corner OF though.

There's a huge difference between having a low BB% and a minuscule BB%...Castro, unfortunately is on the latter side of the fence at 2.1%

NEPP - Agreed. When a guy has that low of a BB rate, he typically has either weak recognition of pitches and a poor plate discipline or a combo of the two.

Would imagine he is chasing a lot especially offspeed stuff out of the zone.

JW: the very high strikeouts of the players we're talking about (Castro, James, Valle) kind of proves that the low walk rate isn't just kids trying to show off their skills, its because they can't recognize pitches well and swing at most anything they can get their bat on.

NEPP, fair enough. Just perused bred and I'm actually surprised to see PtB's walk rate in his most productive "power seasons."

I guess my own revisionist confirmation bias remembers all those damned called third strikes, with Burell bailing like his pants were on fire.

and that approach at the plate is the kind that superior pitching will eat alive if the player can hit enough to even move on.

Jack: Agree with all of that. If Castro can sustain that .300 average in the majors, AND play a solid CF, he'll be a starting centerfielder, low walk rate notwithstanding.

But, before we get to that point, I'd like to see if he can sustain that .300 average over a full season in the MINORS. He has never done so before and, based on his track record, I'm somewhat skeptical that he can.

Burrell was almost too disciplined as he simply didn't like to swing at borderline pitches....thus, those called 3rd strikes we all remember.

Abreu was another guy with great plate discipline who would rather take a borderline pitch than swing at it.

Remember when our lineup was full of such guys?

Those Abreu World Series teams will always be remembered.

Fata - thanks. Of course, one of the problems with RAJ is that he doesn't seem to gather all of the relevant information before he makes decisions. The Phils didn't seem to have any clue about the severity of Utley's injury going into spring training, let alone during the offseason, and under Amaro's guidance the Phils have repeatedly jumped before the market is set in free agency (only to find that the market is lower than what the Phils' contract offers imply, i.e. Ibanez, Polanco, and Papelbon).

***Those Abreu World Series teams will always be remembered. ***

I was thinking more of our 2008 lineup with Burrell, Werth, Utley and Howard all walking quite a bit and having power.

I think it's just natural, as a fan, to want what you aren't currently seeing from your team.

@Steve Jeltz...nobody is ever going to beat RA Jr. into the pool. Never!

***(only to find that the market is lower than what the Phils' contract offers imply, i.e. Ibanez, Polanco, and Papelbon). ***

Are you trying to imply that Papelbon isn't twice as good as Joe Nathan (18 SVs, 237 ERA+, 0.891 WHIP)

That's just crazy talk.

Joe D - not only that, but Howard looks like present-day, retired, 50-plus year-old Tony Gwynn trying to run the bases.

NEPP - you have a point, especially because Papelbon's numbers are artificially low because he has pitched in a variety of non-save situations, and therefore been deprived of the "closer's adrenaline" that is so critical in getting outs.


Yeah he does Steve Jeltz. Yeah he does. Ugh. Just let the guy come back next spring. This is such an exercise in futility.

"I think it's just natural, as a fan, to want what you aren't currently seeing from your team."

Kind of. When we had all the power guys, we wanted a legit lead off/base stealing type and an "on base" guy and some small ball/bunting, to compliment the mashers. Be careful what you wish for, as we now have a lineup with all of the above EXCEPT the power guy(s). I'm sure it's no coincidence that the 2007-2011 teams were some of the more diverse and complimentary hitting types in MLB during the time.

I'm not sure anyone wanted any of these pieces at the expense of the power, but that's exactly where we are now.

I've seen the Tiger's 3B prospect Nick Castellanos thrown out as possible Hamels trade bait.

Looks like his 2 walks in 100 AA at bats would fit right in with out minor-league philosophy.

To me, Howard looks, um, what are the right words, not good...

I can't see anything good of him rushing back of he's not in game shape and not brining his usual arsenal of skills. We don't need slap hitting Howard. We give up enough outs as-is.

I would have to assume that $25M/yr is certainly pressure to get back to work, but I hope it's self-motivated and not coming from the Phillies FO. I just don't see the positives this year.

I posed the question 2 weeks ago on here and I'll do it again considering WP's recent post...

Does anyone see the point in bringing Howard back this year?

Howard coming back is a real catch-22 for the Phils. Certainly the highlights from Clearwater don't look good, but none of us are on the medical staff and we can't know what the prognosis really is. If they have any hope this year (and there isn't much hope even if 2007 Howard came back), the Phils need Howard because the carousel at 1B is a black hole in the lineup most nights. That said, Howard is a centerpiece of this team going forward based on salary alone and rushing him back trying to turn around a lost season can only lead to bad things. If what we're watching from single A is what it's going to be at the Bank, I hope they just shut it down and aim for 2013, rather than rushing an unhealthy player back and having him aggravate the achilles or injure something else compensating for an achilles that isn't 100%

Joe D, I'm sure you can assert that I'm in the "no good at all" camp. I'm actually afraid it does more harm than good (mostly because there's not a whole lot of "good" that can come from it to begin with).

My biggest concern is that he's being pressured to hurry back to keep butts in seats for the 2nd half of the season. I think that Philly fans are arter than that, and would rather see a winner on the field, not a shell of the guy we expect more out of.

We keep hearing that his recovery is all about 'building strength' in the leg. I say give him the rest of this year (he's a sunk cost either way) and be damn sure he can hit the p8ss out of the ball next year.

Yep I agree WP. The risk is going to far outweigh the reward with Howard. Even with Howard coming back this team needs a million other pieces and scenarios to fall into place for them to just get into the playoffs. I fully expect that they are going to keep sliding in the standings while still pushing Howard back because that's just another misstep in this perfect storm of a season.

howard should be able to work off that tummy bulge this off-season poling his mom in his new gondola.

I can't quite put my finger on it, but it's not so much weight or body shape that concern me about Howard. It just seems like that youthful exuberance and joy in playing the game aren't there right now (which is understandable if he's not really ready). He looks "old," which is a real concern about a guy who hasn't yet had Plate Appearance #1 under his lengthy contract extension, as of yet.

Nothing says "youthful exuberance" and "Joy" like a minor league rehab experience.

I don't care about exuberance or joy...the guy looks like he is in a world of pain.

Nothing says "youthful exuberance" and "joy" like excruciating pain while trying to run to first base.

"I think it's just natural, as a fan, to want what you aren't currently seeing from your team."

You mean, like a winning record and a functional bullpen?

* * Couldn't resist. I actually think you're right.

* * *
WP - Are you referring to the fact that Howard looks to be treating his leg gingerly? That's what I think, that he still looks tentative.

It's not for the best to rush him back, but if the docs say he's good to play, is there harm in it? I suppose building confidence about putting weight/pressure on his Achilles can happen just as easily in the minors. Maybe I'm just feeling the pull of the last vestiges of hope. I have to acknowledge that the frustration of watching an unproductive Howard won't help my enjoyment of Phillies baseball much, however.

My guess is that Howard comes back essentially in Thome's pinch-hitting role, except that he'd be able to play a few innings here or there at 1B in a double-switch.

A rare tip o' the cap to RAJ for getting an interesting prospect in Gabriel Lino. I wouldn't get hung up on the low batting average - he's very young, can play a difficult position, and can hit for power. We were going to get about 50 more meaningless ABs from Thome, so that's a nice return.

Blacktopping a driveway is environmentally unsound.

The Phils just added someone to their front office who had been in the O's system for years, right? I think he had a lot to do with the guys we got for Thome.

Actually, Cal, it's me. Nice try.

R.I.P. Andy.

These posts are more lame than Ryan Howard.

Whoops I died.
R.I.P. Andy and myself.

BL posters are trying to mimic the performance of the team

wow, vegas finally gave up, Phils are +110 to the Mets. Regardless of their record, the Phillies have been getting money as the favorites for about 85% of their games this season, and about 99% of the time vs NL East counterparts up until now.

Howard hobbling to a .429 .500 .571 1.071 line and 5rbis in 5 games in the minors.

Bubba: They're doing a good job. Both make me slightly nauseus.

If BL is only making you "slightly" nauseous, then it hasn't done its job.

It hasn't done its job at all.

"The Matt Rizzotti Story" starring Darin Ruf.

Beeleaguers knew he'd be a star, his minor league stats were HOF-worthy, but Phillies management REFUSED to give Rizzotti a chance. They wouldn't even promote him to Triple A!

And then, one day, he broke free! Free to fulfill his potential! Free to play in Triple A! Free to be a .225 hitter...Oh. Wait. Nevermind.

I agree with Jack, WP, RG and the other Beerleaguers who say Howard's washed up. You can tell by looking at him.

Fats: I put myself through college eating glass so I can handle bad humor and bad baseball.

my favorite rizzotti moment was when he got released before the 2011 season and no one even signed him, so the phils took him back for another year and by the deadline people advocated throwing him in trade proposals to get talent back.

Clout, I don't think Ryan is washed up. He just needs a little bit of my homemade lemonade and a walk down by the pond.

BL poster wisdom through the years:

2007: Jamie Moyer, washed up, cut him.
2009: Brett Myers, washed up, let him walk.
2010: Greg Dobbs, washed up, cut him.
2011: Raul Ibanez, washed up, let him walk.
2012: Ryan Howard, washed up.
J-Roll,washed up.
Cole Hamels, not washed up but dump him, too expensive.

Select BL: "Howard looks like he's not really in game shape, so given the status of the season, his overall importance to the team, the fact that the team has him locked up for 4 more years at $100M, and for his own safety, it might be wise to just shut him down for the rest of the season, or, at the very least, give him as long as humanly possible to rehab and come back as close to 100% as possible. But whatever you do, don't rush him back. It's just not worth it for the team and for the Big Piece."

The above as read by clout: "Ryan Howard is washed up. You can tell by looking at him."


Is there a significant risk of reinjury from Howard playing now that would imperil Howard's ability to play in 2013? I'm no doctor but, I haven;t seen a credible claim that there is.

There isn't a risk, at least that is what we have been told many times by the phillies docs.

Well, then, that settles it, johnny.

do you think the shift is being used against howard in his rehab?

Oh it's being used allright.

The big mystery is, why are so many beerleaguers so anxious to declare players washed up?

It's a coping mechanism. If you predict a player is going to be washed up/bad, and its true, you get the satisfaction of being right to help you cope with it being bad for your team. If it's wrong, you are happy because its better for the team you root for.

I will accept no less than 6-0 heading into the All Star Break.


You've got me; my interest is piqued.

What's your background? Rough age, occupation, hometown. (I know that's a lot to divulge to these driveling idiots, but let's just assume they cannot keep track of the connection between your answers and my questions.)

I love how Clout frames the state of Cole Hamels debate on the board. Not washed up, but too expensive. In fact, I don't think many here have claimed he's too expensive. That's a very different argument than saying he won't likely sign with a sad sack losing team such as our current Phitins, so get something for him other than draft picks.

I'm pretty sure that everyone here considers him an ace and would pay somewhere between Doc and Cliff money to tie him up for 6 years or so. And I'm also pretty sure that he has his heart set on going elsewhere for that kind of money. No idea what Rube is offering him, but from Rube's own statements, it looks like he's trying to let the fans down easy, and Cole is gone.

That's a far cry from Clout's statement. But to knock down a strawman, you must first build one up. That's Strawman 101, Clout's major at Mom's Basement College.

Follow-up for Clout: 30-40, economist, Bucks County but living on west coast. Sorry, that's only fair.

AKS, at the prices being bandied about, Hamels is too expensive. He's not worth more than CL money. CL -- even ignoring this year entirely -- may not be worth CL money.

Oh, I agree he's not worth MORE than CL money. Those are the dollars being bandied about by a few. But at somewhere between CL and Doc money, he's well worth the expenditure and I think everyone agrees on that.

And I think many would also agree with Jack that ending up with a Lame Big Piece and losing Hamels for similar dollars is poor budgetary management.

Hamels is worth Cliff Lee money, and i hope the Phillies offer him such.

clout: "Matt Rizzotti story"
1. If people and data were so easily interchangeable we would know in advance which prospects would go to the show and on to Coperstown.
2. I believe that every person has his/her moment to shine or to miss that moment and perhaps never shine at all. It may well have been the case that the Phils should have given Matt Rizzotti his chance earlier in his career. I believe we are watching the destruction of another potentially fine ball player in D. Brown.

3. If in fact Darin Ruf who has very good numbers is not one the Phils think will make their team then why not trade him for an equivalent prospect that they might have greater confidence in. Look around the MLB there are a few the Phils threw away that have turned out quite well for others.

If my saying that I just want Howard mashing the p8ss out of the ball in 2013 means he's "washed up" then by all means, call me Mr. Effing Clean.

Also, I'll state bluntly, for the record, that'd mortgage the kids' college tuition to resign Hamels.

Sitting Howard would not help his rehab, it would delay it another 7 months. Of course we all understand Roob is a moron but does anyone think they would rush a $100MM asset back in the hope of recouping pennies on the dollar?

Also, I'll state bluntly, for the record, that'd mortgage the kids' college tuition to resign Hamels.

Genetics + (this statement) suggests there's little need to earmark for college.

(I kid. Well, sort of.)

I am kind of hoping the Phils deal Darrin Ruf for RA Dickey after the mets fall out of contention. Would Ruf for Dickey work for anyone?

PPP, no one is advocating Ruf/Dickey. Or even Ruf/Wang, to be honest.

Ruf/Wang=no french tickler needed.

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