First Quarter Mailbag

I asked you and you asked me and then I answered you.

I took this question and just kind of went crazy with it.  Rather than answer Eric’s question, I created a 25 man roster of a combination of the best players and players that fit into the needs of the team.  Eric had mentioned in followups that he was thinking about a prospect vs major league game, so think of this as an exhibition roster for that series.  This is in no way a future roster projection (we will that at some point soon).  I will note that due to his arrest Jesmuel Valentin was not considered or included.

C: Deivi Grullon
1B: Rhys Hoskins
2B: Malquin Canelo
SS: J.P. Crawford
3B: Zach Green
LF: Kelly Dugan
CF: Roman Quinn
RF: Carlos Tocci
DH: Willians Astudillo
Bench: Andrew Knapp, Aaron Altherr, Grenny Cumana, Dylan Cozens

Most of the starters are fairly obvious, with Canelo sliding over to second base.  Third base is a bit rough now that Maikel Franco is the major leagues, but for now we will go with Green.  As for the bench, we needed a backup catcher, a backup CF, and a backup SS.  This left one roster spot, I debated between a personal favorite like Jose Pujols or one of the July 2 shortstops, but in the end there is a lot of RH batters on this team so I went for a left handed bench bat in Dylan Cozens.

SP1: Aaron Nola
SP2: Zach Eflin
SP3: Franklyn Kilome
SP4: Ricardo Pinto
SP5: Jesse Biddle
CL: Edubray Ramos
Bullpen: Nefi Ogando, Ben Lively, Tom Windle, Joely Rodriguez, Victor Arano, Yoel Mecias

Biddle got the last spot in the rotation because he is left handed.  The bullpen is potentially overpowering.  Mecias is the only question mark as he would be in that SP #5 spot if he was in a rotation right now.  However, the other six guys are either in the bullpen now or could be in it in the future.

I don’t see enough power and hit tool for Asche to be a major league regular on a contender.  I do think he will be a good bench piece for a contending team with his positional flexibility.  I think Hamels trade happens whenever the first contender gets desperate.  That is more likely in July than now, but it could happen quickly.  I think Howard is traded in August after he makes it through waivers, the Phillies will pay almost the whole contract.

There are 4 Canadian prospects in the system (that I found) in Jesen Therrien, Ethan Stewart, Colin Kleven, and Steven Inch.  Inch is an org reliever who is out with Tommy John, and while Kleven is a starter now I think he is a reliever long term.  Given all of that I am going to go with Ethan Stewart because he is big, left handed, and has a devastating slider.  Guys like that tend to have major league careers even if they are wild.  The best Canadian in the organization is Phillippe Aumont however.

The biggest pleasant surprise for me so far is Lakewood shortstop Malquin Canelo.  His numbers were surprisingly good last year, but I never imagined he would continue to hit this good.  He won’t jump up to the very top of prospects lists, but if he can play a good shortstop and hit at 75% of this, he is going to be a good player.

On the negative side it has to be Dylan Cozens.  I have never been a big believer, but it has been very ugly for Cozens so far.  He hasn’t hit for much power so far and the plate discipline numbers have been atrocious.  He is going to need to mash for the profile to work, and right now he just isn’t doing that and I don’t see a lot of reasons to be optimistic.

I am going to make this more complicated than this should be, but I don’t get to pick and choose who to go see from out here in Wisconsin.  Given that it is a full series it has to be a hitter (and I am going to go hitter), and I want it to be a guy I don’t know much about (though I wouldn’t complain about a series of Crawford).  I am very intrigued by the lowest level of development so I am going to go with one of my favorites in Jose Pujols.  There is so much to like in the package and it is inconsistent enough that I want a series of looks at him.  Even if it doesn’t work out, I want to see why it doesn’t work.

I want to say that he is going to be something after that hot week, but we are already seeing the slump.  He has big power, but I just don’t see the bat speed and approach to really handle major league stuff and sequencing.  He could still sneak into a platoon role because he can crush mistakes, but I just don’t see any more.

It is really hard to peg Galvis’ value since it is a small sample on some skills (like the hitting) and not on others (shortstop defense).  His ceiling is probably a bit limited because his offensive upside is fairly low, so a team trading is buying the defensive metrics on him.  However, if he is an empty .270 average with elite defense that is a 2-3 win player under control for 3.5 years.  The peak package is probably what the Dodgers got for Dee Gordon, but it is likely closer to a back of the top 100 prospect.  This sounds appealing, but I don’t think I take that deal.  I just would rather have the average major leaguer right now and start building inventory for the next contender.

The easy answer is that he is eligible to sign on July 2 of this year.  The complex answer is that it could be delayed if the Phillies are looking to add international slots, because as soon as you go over you cannot trade for slots.


Looking ahead a couple of years I could see an infield of Franco, Crawford and Galvis or Herrera or Valentin at second, with Quinn or Tocci in center, but who at the outfield corners and catcher (Assuming Grullon isn’t ready)? Could a Hamels trade net a good potential player at either or both positions? Our minor league pitching is certainly looking up but corner outfielders with good potential seem scarce maybe a result of drafting “toolsy” athletes rather than baseball players….

The Phillies are still at the point in the rebuild where need is not important.  Especially in a Hamels trade.  There just aren’t a lot of players that can headline a Hamels trade, and you cannot afford to take a lesser player just to fill a need.  If you can’t fill a spot internally there will be ways of adding pieces from outside of the org.

Photo by Baseball Betsy

Author: Matt Winkelman

Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has appeared on Phuture Phillies, The Good Phight, and TheDynastyGuru.


  1. Romus

    Matt…if you had to speculate…..what would a trade with the Angels and Ben Revere bring back to Philadelphia?

    • Matt Winkelman

      I have tried to avoid this mostly. I would guess Newcomb, Heaney, Baldoquin, and Gatto are definitely out of play, Julio Garcia and Jose Suarez (both big LA signings) also likely out of play. That leaves a lot of middling pitching prospects, most with low ceilings. One of them is probably fair and likely unexciting.

  2. Jim

    Matt…How about Chris Ellis/Hunter Green and Natanael Delgado for Revere? A middling pitching prospect and a young raw outfield prospect with upside. Are my hopes too high?

  3. Frank

    Getting Delgado in a deal would be fantastic. I am hoping for him and Jett Bandy, who, at the very least would give us some catching depth at AAA.

    • Romus

      After looking at the prospects in the LAA system, and the perceived value of Ben Revere….I kind of think a Carlos Perez, catcher may be the one offered up for Revere. Perhaps his value is more to the Angels, not sure. Now if he is Chris Ianneta’s back-up..I do not know.