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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Comments

Thanks. Right on schedule.

If starting, Revere should be batting 9th.

From the last thread, which got foiled by the new series thread:

What's odd about Asche's 288 MLB PA is that his bat always played up as the kind of best-case scenario of the kind of guys RAJ likes: Plus contact skills translating to a high batting average with a bit of pop and average-at-best walk rates. The kind of guy for whom a best-case ceiling would be something like a .280/.350/.435 slash-line.

Which is why Asche's put up with a .229/.304/.384 to date, with a 9.7% walk rate and consummately worse contact to get that .304 OBP. If Asche's hit tool can catch up to where it was projected to be while keeping the ~10% BB rate, the offensive package is good enough to survive his present-level of 3B defense. Or a positional shift to a corner OF position. It's something to hope for, at least, even if the enhanced walk rate is just statistical noise.

Revere in his Phils' career:

.294/.322/.336 (.658 OPS) in 124 G with 34 SB, 10 CS (~77%).

The killer has his defense in CF. He's been slightly below average and for a guy with his kind of limited offense game that is a killer.

fWAR has been 0.8 in those 124 G; his bWAR has been 0.0 in those 124 G.

If you use 800 IP played as a minimum threshold in CF the last 2 years (Revere has played 966 in CF), there are 26 players who qualify and there isn't a single defensive category where Revere has even been average (13th or better).

Given that his defense hasn't evenbeen below average, the Phils should move Byrd to CF, Brown to RF, and use a platoon of Ruf/Mayberry in LF with Revere as a late-innings defensive replacement or occasional starter.

I don't like being knee-jerk and wouldn't support starting a marginal player like Gwynn over Revere but Revere hasn't shown enough & this team is trying to desperately win this year.

Platooning two RHBs?

Only 6 weeks in and most of the fantasies are gone...the team only needed to stay healthy to compete...Howard had a big comeback in him...Brown is the guy we saw last May...Revere can play this game...the young relievers will figure it out...Sandberg is smarter than Cholly...

I actually really liked bittel's recommendations at the end of the last thread. That would be a team that I wouldn't mind seeing every day. They wouldn't win much more than the one out there now, but it would better acclimate the young guys for the future. I don't think they'll call up Franco just yet, as I think they still hold out hope for Asche.

For all of the "it's a lost season, let the young guys get some experience" banter we've kicked around, I, too, am dismayed that it's the young guys who are not demonstrating any real semblance of anything to feel optimistic about in the future. Might as well double down...

Howard is basically replicating his effort last year so far...

2013: 114 OPS+
2014: 113 OPS+

Perhaps we are seeing the myth of the "healthy Ryan Howard" being formed?

Maybe at Age 34, this is as good as it will get for him?

NEPP, I'll actually take it. He's not turning and cranking balls out at the same clip he used to, but he's also developed some patience and has hit through the shift quite a bit more than we've ever seen before, too. Basically, he's taking what the pitching is giving him (though he still has his extremely predictable weaknesses and is relatively easy to K).

These is a great example where the contract becomes hard to disqualify from the analysis. He's actually playing well (even improved those tosses to 2B on defense). Is he playing $25M a year well?...

Anyway, on a team full of issues, he's not the biggest one right now. He just needs to stay healthy, continue working on left handed pitching and going the other way. If he can smash a few more moonshots, all the better.

I would like to see some sort of succession plan, at some point, for 1B, though.

For all of the hand-wringing about Asche's bat, there's one number in his batted ball data that stands out: A 28.2% line drive rate. That's indicative that he's drilling the ball rather more often than is normal. (The league-average rate was 21.2% last year and is 20.3% so far this season.) Given sample size issues, it's safe to assume that those have more often than not been directly at someone: That certainly jives with the anecdotal evidence.

But, if he keeps hitting the ball hard like that, the outcomes are bound to improve.

Juums, what's his BABIP vs. the league average, out of curiosity?

I'm with you, I'm not quite ready to cut bait on a 23 yr old who is yet to play a full season in the bigs. The defense can improve (and by all accounts, he's working on it). I think that if Franco wasn't raking (and blocked if they're serious about transitioning to 1B), Cody would have a longer leash.

I suspect that Howard will end up in the 120-125 range for OPS+.

I think he'll heat up a bit as the season goes on and he's always been a 2nd half guy anyway. That's about the best case scenario for him.

I also suspect that Utley will cool off significantly and end up in the .800-.850 OPS range instead of his current .973 OPS.

The only thing this year that bothers me about Howard is that stupid Subway commercial where he sings his "Ode to the Big Philly Cheesesteak".

***A 28.2% line drive rate***

Line drives tend to fall in about 70% of the time. I'd imagine Asche's percentage is a bit below that right now. Most guys with a LD% that high tend to have a BABIP in the low .300s if not mid-.300s. There are definite exceptions to that this year so far. Castellanos has a very low BABIP with a higher LD% than Asche. So does Ruben Tejada.

Will Preacher:
Asche's BABIP is currently at .265 while the league-average is .294. I suspect there wouldn't be so much sturm und drang about his bat if he were a bit sharper on defense. Or at least didn't have any nights like last night. Because the batted ball numbers are actually encouraging, especially combined with what else he's done at the plate. (He owns at 11% BB rate thus far this season, though that's probably just statistical noise from the sample size. Nothing I've ever seen has recognized him towards having that kind of patience.)

BTW, since it was asked, the league average BABIP is .298 and Asche is currently at .265.

With that LD%, he's definitely hitting into some significant bad luck.

JR, Chooch, Utley, Byrd, Howard, Ruf, Brown, Franco, Pitcher - bittel
-
I like the look of this, although I wouldn't give up on Asche completely just yet. I'd like to see him platooned with Franco and let them fight it out for the starting job.

So far the spray charts on BrooksBaseball have 16 of his 20 linedrives charted...of that, he's had 9 hits and 7 outs.

So, given a large enough sample size, on average 70% fall in and he's only had 56.3% fall in. He's basically been "robbed" out of 2 hits on LD so far as 11 hits would be 68.75%.

Tiny sample sizes though so that's not a surprise.

Speaking of sample size...assume both hits were doubles (pushing it a bit, I know), that'd raise his numbers up to .240 AVG/.330 OBP/.747 OPS.

Far more respectable offensively.

His defense, of course, still sucks.

With all the clamoring for Franco, I assumed he must be hitting .300 and OPSing at least .900 at AAA. So I was fairly befuddled when I looked up his numbers to find that the answer to the Phillies' offensive problems is actually hitting .234 and OPSing .672.

Yeah but he's been hitting since the beginning of May (you know, 2 weeks now) so he's definitely 100% ready for the Majors.

bittel's lineup is enticing but Franco has just started to turn things around.

- Sign Farnsworth, release Manship or T-AAA
- Send down Holland, bring up Giles

Teams desperately needs help in middle relief and if Gillick was running the team I absolutely believe he would he would make these moves or would in short order.

Starting the clock on Franco is one thing, quite another on Giles who has been dominant from the get go including a pretty strong spring.

OF they go Ruf-Byrd-Brown which moves Revere to the bench, Gwynn to T-AAA, and gives them a slightly better bench, better offense with certainly more power, and a downgrade defensively from below average to poor. Team needs the power though and Revere hasn't shown either especially defensively.

Franco to me is more of a guy you look at brining up in another month or at the end of June if Asche continues to be mediocre overall and if Franco really continues to hit.

I'm firmly on board the youth movement proposals mentioned above and on the previous thread. What better time than in this season where they can stand to benefit from learning from seasoned vets?

Franco we can probably hold off on until a September call up or Howard injury. Let Asche get some time unencumbered in the interim. I'm not ready to write him off just yet.

Additionally, if we're really building for a sustainable future, Lee and Rollins (permission pending...) should be on the block at the deadline. Paps, too, for that matter.

Ruf/Byrd/Brown is a horror show defensively, especially when our infield corners are equally horrific right now. I could see using that alignment occasionally, but it can't be an everyday thing. If Byrd in CF is an occasional option, Ruf can get plenty of starts giving Revere, Brown, and Howard days off.

Personally, I'd send Brown to LV to see if he can get his swing straightened out. At least Ruf/Brown isn't much of a defensive downgrade, while Ruf/Revere with Byrd moving to CF is a huge downgrade. I'd play Ruf in LF every day until Brown forces the issue by hitting in AAA.

CT, I won't argue, but I'd actually kill to have "defense" as the primary area I need to solve for (as opposed to it's inclusion on a much longer laundry list). It's certainly no silver bullet, but it improves the offense quickly and gives RAJ (or whomever? - we can wish...) a better look of what gaps need to be addressed (trade deadline, FA).

And my disdain for Revere is well known. But I actually like him in a bench role where he can be used to start occasionally when better defense is desired (and late in games). It's actually a great spot for him.

ColonelTom:
While I'm not sure demoting Dom's a good idea, there might be a more practical problem: Does he have any options left? As a 26 year-old OF who posted 27 HR last season and has a top prospect pedigree is probably not going to pass through waivers unless he performs significantly worse than he has to date.

Brown has an option remaining so he could be demoted without being exposed to waivers.

So does Ben Revere for that matter...

Can Brown just get Wally Joyner on the phone?

Does have to rake in Lehigh Valley to prove he'd be an upgrade over Brown offensively?

Does Ruf*

Ruf/Byrd/Brown is a horror show defensively
-
I think it would be worse than the current OF defense, but not much worse.

CF: Byrd > Revere (less range, better reads & better arm)
RF: Brown < Byrd (clear downgrade in RF)
LF: Ruf = Brown (they're both below average defenders with varying weaknesses)

I still like the kid (Revere) but im starting to think he may be best suited for a PH/PR and a 4th OF supporting character. I still think RAJ will have him as our starting CF'er unless he doesnt snap out of his slump. Wasnt it about this time last year that BL'ers wanted his head on a stick. Then he turned it around before been injured. The eye test tells me that Byrd just a little slow these days to play a decent CF. He'll would probably make up some room with the better fielding instincts and more experience.

ColonelTom - The Phils OF ranks poorly by any objective defensively right now though:

23rd in UZR/150
21st in RZR
22nd in DRS
11th in FP which giving fielding decisions at CBP I take with a grain of salt

Offensively:

t-23rd in wRC+
t-23rd in wOBA
24th in ISO
22nd in OPS

Last year (2013):

t-23rd in wRC+
24th in wOBA
20th in ISO
24nd in OPS

27rd in UZR/150
25st in RZR
30th in DRS

Defensively there has been a modest improvement overall so far from last year but offensively they continue to languish overall in large part due to Revere starting everyday & not hitting and Brown's really poor start offensively.

I guess right now you could argue either way - go with Ruf/Byrd/Brown and hope that the defense decline is offset by the offensive one especially from a power perspective vs staying with Brown/Revere/Byrd & hoping that Brown/Revere turn it around, moving Revere out of the leadoff spot and down to 7th-8th in the lineup where he belongs, and spot starts for Ruf.

Byrd probably cant handle CF full time anymore...you'd have an OF with 3 negative defenders out there if you went Ruf/Byrd/Brown from left to right.

Can Brown just get Wally Joyner on the phone?

Posted by: Cyclic | Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 01:11 PM

I wonder this myself. Though im sure there has to be some sort of disclosure against it. .Dont they have film and cant someone figure it out

Like I said. Does Ruf have to crush in LHV?

Or is everyone just totally fine assuming he'll be better than Dom Brown offensively no matter what?

As putrid as Dom has been, here are some other guys with OPS below .625 right now: Billy Butler, Pablo Sandoval, Carlos Santana, Josh Reddick, Brian McCann, Will Venable, Jean Segura, Jason Heyward, Martin Prado.

I think you need to give it a little more time before you think of platooning, replacing, or demoting a 26-year old who had an .818 OPS last year.

Cyclic: He's not likely to be at LV long enough to rake or not rake.

But, to answer your question: I think we already have enough information on Darin Ruf to know that he's a better hitter than anyone on our bench & a better hitter than Howard against LHP. That's the guy I'd be platooning him with.

Is it just me, or does bap encouraging patience with Brown seem out of character?

I don't think Ruf has to crush in LHV, just be solid: .270/.340/.450.
Especially if Brown keeps struggling as he's been.

Ruf/Byrd/Brown would be potentially the worst OF defense in recent baseball history.

The defensive downgrade from Brown/Revere/Byrd is significant, and as crazy as it sounds, would likely be greather than the offensive upgrade of Ruf over Revere.

"Is it just me, or does bap encouraging patience with Brown seem out of character?"

If it were Ryan Howard or Marlon Byrd OPSing .576, I'd be considerably less patient. I'd also be less patient if I thought the Phillies had any realistic chance of contending this year. As it is, Dom's the only young guy the Phillies have who has actually demonstrated any sustained success. And, since I was never under any illusion that we were going to contend, I don't see much downside to sticking with him.

I still think we should of just kept Shane around. Even at a slight/modest overpay.

Id imagine the BoSox were pretty happy with the nearly 6 Win season they got out of him last year for $13 million.

Reds vs Phils

At least the Phils won a WS during their run from '07-'11 and made another WS appearance.

From '10 until now the Reds have made the playoffs 3 times (2 as NL Central champions and last year as the WC) and have yet to even win a playoff series/game.

bap, I could have sworn last year you still weren't on the Dom Brown train, even in the midst of his scorching May. I guess I'm remembering wrong.

As Murphy & Seidman suggested, I think we should seriously think about signing Farnsworth. Also, how has De Fratus been doing?

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/writer/jon-heyman/24563082/mets-release-farnsworth-a-day-after-demoting-him-from-closer-job

Ruf/Byrd/Brown would be potentially the worst OF defense in recent baseball history. - Jack
-
Worse than Susdorf, Mayberry, Nix? That was just 10 months ago.

BAP, we're not talking about six weeks here - Dom's power vanished shortly after the All-Star Break last year. He hit his final home run of 2013 on August 14.

Since the 2013 All-Star Break, Dom has played in exactly a half season (81 G, 305 PA). Here's his line:

.245/.308/.343, 5 HR, 31 RBI

That's an .098 ISO. This year, his ISO is .073, which is dead last among the 26 LFs with enough at bats to qualify for the batting title to date. To put that in perspective, Eric Young Jr. of the Mets has an .092.

In other words, something is seriously wrong here, whether it's a mechanical issue in his swing or an undisclosed injury. Whatever it is, he's been trying to work it out at the big-league level for half a season and it's not happening. Joyner was here for the second half of last season, so I'm not sure a phone call to him is the answer to Brown's woes anyway.

MG saying he doesn't want to be knee-jerk was one of the funniest things ever said on BL

De Fratus

Overall line (12 games):
13.1 IP, 2.03 ERA, 13 H, 11 SO, 3 BB, 62% strikes

Even better recently (last 6 games):
7 IP, 0.00 ERA, 4 H, 7 SO, 0 BB, 66% strikes

I honestly don't understand why Garcia is on the Phillies while De Fratus is in AAA.

[We now join the Phils FO daily meeting, already in progress.]

Looper: ...and the Mets cut Kyle Farnsworth. That ends yesterday's transactions around the league.

Amaro: Farnsworth, that sounds familiar...New Stat Guy, what do you have on him?

New Stat Guy [flustered he was actually asked for his input]: Well, um, he's 38...

Amaro: Sign him!

De Fratus ALWAYS pitches well in the minors...and then doesn't make the leap in the Majors.

Lots of guys have that issue.

And Garcia has what it takes to pitch in the majors?

De Fratus MiLB # 2011-Pres:

133 IP, 2.50 ERA, 1.120 WHIP, 10.4 SO/9, 2.5 BB/9, 4.14 SO/BB

I wasn't saying that, Cyclic...I was just noting that De Fratus's numbers in AAA are a bit irrelevant at this point.

switching them out would probably help the bullpen if only because Garcia is just terrible.

If people commenting on a blog can make that evaluation... why is De Fratus still in AAA while Garcia plays for the Phillies? It makes no sense.

I understand he pitches well in MiLB, but that's the point. It's not like he's getting rocked right now. He's still pitching well. Yet the hairdresser stays.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but his ceiling is better than Garcia, right?

Better in that, you know, he actually has one...

NEPP, De Fratus was a perfectly serviceable reliever last year in 58 MLB appearances. Then he gives up two home runs in his first four outings this year and suddenly he can't make the leap?

Besides, how high can that bar be if Manship and Garcia are up?

"De Fratus ALWAYS pitches well in the minors...and then doesn't make the leap in the Majors.

Lots of guys have that issue."

* * *
Makes me think of this quote:
"I see this all the time...talented cat, spotlight comes on, pow! he shrinks up."

Agreed, CT.

So who's the money on for who gets replaced by Ruf?

Gwynn or Mayberry, right?

But count me in favor of bringing up De Fratus, too. Give him another shot. He had some good appearances last year. Like ColonelTom said, how high can the bar be with Garcia and Manship in our 'pen?

Cyclic, I think it has to be Gwynn. Sandberg served notice when he said that he viewed Byrd as an option in CF.

I know at this point, most moves they can make would just be rearranging deck chairs, but I would just like to see them try SOMETHING to give the team a better shot of winning. Some kind of shakeup. Something that says, "To us, what's been happening is unacceptable." Something that says, we actually were kind of serious about competing.

Sort of like in the off-season when they signed Burnett. When that happened, I actually convinced myself it meant the PTB truly felt this group could compete. If they ever really felt that way, and if they still do, I'd like to see them do something to show it.

NEPP, Franco isn't going to get ruined batting 8th for a two-month tour of duty in the majors prior to the All-Star break. Send him down then if he can't hack it, and try again next year.

The bigger point is: Cody Asche at his best is marginal. I'd rather he be marginal after I've seen Franco can't help this year.

Never happen, of course.

Oh, and I like NEPP's implication that Revere, not Gwynn, should be sent to AAA. Works better, since Gwynn is a better defensive replacement.

I'm attending Empire Beauty School during the day to increase my versatility. Hopefully, Amaro gives me a shot once I get my hairdresser license.

Amaro is personally scouting players for the draft.

Jim Salisbury ‏@JSalisburyCSN 31m
Phillie Phodder: Time to go all-in on the future? http://bit.ly/1jMSGmB

Well Amaro has the Midas touch, so what could go wrong with him personally scouting our draft choices?

Wait wait i had a extremely small sample size. I made one goof yes it was a big goof but dang it, I know ill do better next time. Unlike Gwynn i can hit. Yea im not a starter but i provide a decent bat, im cheap i have some speed.

I'd love to see the complete list of players that RAJ has scouted. No shock that the two they include are pitchers, but I'd like to get a taste for what he's thinking on the offensive side.

As for the notion, itself, that RAJ is the one doing the scouting, I can't help but wonder if he thinks that may buy him some more time in the job?

Stephen Gross (@SteveGrossMCall)
#Phillies Darin Ruf was reinstated from the DL and optioned to Triple-A #IronPigs

Obvious roster move is obvious

"Since the 2013 All-Star Break, Dom has played in exactly a half season (81 G, 305 PA). Here's his line:

.245/.308/.343, 5 HR, 31 RBI"

Fair enough, but I'm still not quite convinced. I hate to go all awh here, and start parsing these numbers into sub-sets, but it's not like it has been a straight line of bad hitting since last year's ASB. He OPSed .765 last July and .772 last August. Then he was terrible in Sept. & he's been terrible to start the year. So, basically, we're talking about 2 1/2 bad months, with a 6-month break between the 1st and the 2nd month. I'm just not ready to declare last year a fluke, based on that kind of sample. If it continues for another month or two, then maybe you start thinking about alternatives. But a rebuilding team should not be giving up on its young players. And I really can't believe that there's an adjustment which Dom could learn to make at AAA that he can't learn to make while in the majors.

Just saw on CSN that Ruf's officially been activated and optioned to LHV. Things proceed apace, as now we're all set for him to not be called up until July, where he'll proceed to once more impress in 250-300 PA and tantalize us just enough that we can keep arguing about his upside without actually having enough MLB PAs in a stretch to shake off reasonable concerns about sample size.

Optioned to AAA? Because you would hate to pass Tony Gwynn and his 45 OPS+ through waivers, and have someone claim him away from you.

BAP:
Mayberry's the guy who most logically needs to go if you bring Ruf to the big club, as you need a reserve OF who's at least nominally a competent defender. Which Gwynn is, notwithstanding that floor show in Toronto.

I get why the move was made, as Ruf by his own admission doesn't think he's ready to come up to the big club, and if he's going to be a bench piece anyway, might as well let him rehab as an everyday player. Be interesting to see where we're at in a few weeks, though, once Ruf's own rehab timetable has been satisfied.

Though there seems to be a certain justified pessimism in expecting this is going to be a long-term optioning.

Juums: Reasonable minds can certainly disagree about whether Gwynn or Mayberry should be the one to go. I would say it should be Gwynn because his bat is horrendous and, barring injury, I just can't see any reason why Revere should ever sit. And if Revere's not sitting, we don't really need a guy who's a competent defender.

Hopefully, Ruf's assignment to AAA won't be long but, as you say, all pessimism on this subject is justified by RAJ's track record in this area.

Ruf didn't exactly light the world on fire towards the end of last year. In his rehab appearances, he's 1-for-12 with a walk and 2 Ks.

He probably at least has to prove that he's recovered enough to do well over the next 30-50 PAs before he's a good idea to get brought up.

Wait... Sorry, misread.

5-for-22 (all singles) in MiLB appearances this year, including 2 BBs and 5 Ks (1 sac).

Still think another 30-50 PAs is a good plan to make sure he's fully "back" before any promotion.

'Buster:
You'll get no arguments from me in that department: As said above, that Ruf himself doesn't feel he's ready is why the move is why getting upset about the move is probably a fool's errand. It's more this ominous feeling that we've seen all of this before, where a perfectly justifiable roster move is made and then it transforms into a launchpad for a series of increasingly illogical and indefensible ones. (The specter here being that Ruf returns to form in two weeks or so and languishes until the ASB while our bench continues to regularly feature slap-hitting UIFs in pinch-hitting situations.)

The more we get to see Reid Brignac having meaningful ABs late in games, the happier I'll be.

Goooo Phillies!

Here's a nice piece from Crashburn Alley on Brown:

http://crashburnalley.com/2014/05/14/domonic-brown-needs-to-have-some-pull-around-here/

They should give Dwayne Murphy a call. Murphy preaches a dead-pull approach and had a lot of success with guys like Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion in Toronto. Murphy's retired from coaching now, but I suspect he has a working phone.

I have no problem with giving Ruf a couple of weeks to get his power stroke back. Sensible move.

The main reason the Phillies had a sustained run of success in the recent past was, in large part, because the farm system produced a core of excellent young players in Rollins, Utley, Howard, Ruiz, Burrell, Hamels, Madson, Myers, etc. I don't see anything remotely resembling that kind and that amount of young talent currently on the team, in AAA or AA ball. Amaro and his draft and development people have failed miserably in this area.

The Reds mascot is somehow even more creeptastic than Mr. Met.

Dragon:
Thank you for teeing up this point for me. I've been meaning to raise of late and just haven't found a good venue for it. And that point is: Can we be certain that Amaro has failed at drafting talent over the past few seasons?

This isn't to say that Amaro has not made his fair share of mistakes in the draft: Larry Greene, for instance, is a consensus pick for a blown opportunity. But prospects have a propensity to flame out at a frightening rate. To what degree, I wonder, has simple bad luck with guys contributed to the farm's dearth of productive young talent? It's not something we can ever quantify, but it's got to be a contributing factor to a certain degree.

IT'S THE EYES

"If starting, Revere should be batting 10th."

Fixt!

"I have no problem with giving Ruf a couple of weeks to get his power stroke back."

That's what *she* said!

"I have no problem with giving Ruf a couple of weeks to get his power stroke back. Sensible move."

If I really believed that was the plan, I would be on board. Does anyone who has observed how little RAJ cares about bench production, and how much he obsesses about versatility, really believe that's the plan?

Upon further consideration, I've come to dislike the optioning of Ruf. As, really, how're they going to turn him into a fungible reliever when they trade him to the Rays if they're burning through precious option years for a few weeks of extended rehab in AAA? The Rays are tricksy, tricksy fellows who care about the value of option years. I've got a much better plan for rehabbing Ruf, while also having him contribute to the MLB club:
1. Move Ruf to the 60-day DL and announce that Ryan Howard has taken up switch-hitting.
2. Have Darin Ruf don blackface and Ryan Howard's jersey.
3. Use Darin Ruf in blackface where the platoon advantage mandates it.
4. Deflect all possible criticism of this plan by accusing its critics of racism.
5. Announce Howard's abandoning the switch-hitting experiment when Ruf's back up to speed.

It's absolutely foolproof, really. What could possibly go wrong?

Juums:

You make valid points about drafts being, to some degree, a crapshoot where luck plays a part. Perhaps Amaro and his draft and development people have had a run of buzzard's luck. But, I can't help but wonder if it is no coincidence that the team's drafting and development has suffered since Amaro was named GM over Mike Arbuckle, who ran the drafts before leaving in disgust after being passed over in 2008.

"Amaro is personally scouting players for the draft."

3 x 5 index cards are prepared and Amaro has the full complement of multi-colored highlighters, pens, and WhiteOut ready to go.

Dragon:
Oh, I think we all agree that the Phils' have drafted poorly for the past half-decade and that Amaro deserves his fair share of the blame. My point is primarily about the scope of that "fair share".

As the Phils have gotten some useful pieces of the later rounds of the draft: Asche and Ruf, for whatever their ultimate ceilings may be, are products of the organization's ability to identify guys with great makeups who will work their butts off to make the most of their tools. (I'd also add Cameron Rupp to that list of limited tool/good makeup guys that were plucked from the non-premium rounds.)

The real problem for player development is that none of Amaro's premium draft choices -- i.e. those from the first and second rounds -- have made an impact with the MLB club. That's five draft classes during RAJ's tenure, and it'd be unfair to expect the 2013 crop to make such a contribution. That leaves you with eight potential picks, which is a small enough sample size that everyone flaming out could genuinely just be the Baseball Gods frowning.

The greater systemic problem of the farm's inability to produce a serviceable middle reliever certainly indicates that there's more going on than just bad luck. But wasn't the system's difficult in turning out good relief pitchers a problem which predated RAJ's tenure?

Advertising the return of Geoff Jenkins on Sat night and his 'hit that set the tone' in Game 5 in '08 WS.

How many fans realize that Jenkins was even on the Phils in '08? I would bet 10% if you took a casual poll at CBP before the game started.

Juums: "It's something to hope for, at least, even if the enhanced walk rate is just statistical noise."

The walk rate is ABSOLUTELY statistical noise. His career minor league average is 7% and is likely to be lower in MLB.

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