I like mailbags because you all ask a lot of interesting questions. Some are things that I often talk about on Twitter, but the longer form here gives more space, and others are things I would never write a full piece on, but are great things to talk about. But enough about me, and more about what you all want to know.
Let’s get both of these at once. Biddle is a bit of a mystery, they have changed up his arsenal some and he is showing much improved control early in his starts, but he is getting hit when he is around the strikezone. I will go 40% chance of a call up with no numbers to back it up. He has thrown few enough innings that they could send him to the AFL or call him up. In terms of a call up he is on the 40 man roster and they aren’t particularly deep in 40 man starters right now (they have starters but no pressure to stuff the 40 man). I could also see them use in the bullpen some in September just to get him work, but I don’t think his stuff will play up there to the point where he would be an asset there. However, he isn’t showing that he is a major league pitcher right now so there is no reason to push him.
I think that Randolph could handle Williamsport or Lakewood right now. He has taken well to left field and he just can flat out hit. However, the combination of a minor ankle injury and crazy amounts of rain caused him to lose close to a week and a half of ABs and we are at a point where there is not a ton gain by moving him up. He should move very quickly starting next year. The Phillies moved him to left field so his defense wouldn’t hold back his bat, and the bat is good enough for him to rocket through the system.
The obvious name is Andrew Knapp because he needs the reps behind the plate. I think they probably send Tom Windle, not sure if they stretch him out as a starter or keep him in relief (Joe Jordan recently has given indications they like him in the bullpen). I could see Rhys Hoskins going if they want to accelerate him some. Maybe Roman Quinn makes a return trip if he gets back from injury. They could certainly send Crawford or Williams though at that point their fellow team sharers might rebel at the amount of spots taken up (also they may want to give them so rest). Not sure on their relations with their winter ball teams, but if they don’t call up Edubray Ramos or Jimmy Cordero this September they could certainly be options.
If you have been following the GCL Phillies and Williamsport Crosscutters you may have noticed that they have log jams in the outfield, catcher, middle infield, pitching, and just about everywhere. This year they probably could have gone with a second GCL team even with the DSL and VSL teams. However this run of depth might be set for a hiccup. For at least the past 3-4 seasons the Phillies have signed over 30 players a year out of Latin America. That has really driven the low minors depth that we have seen recently. But with the signing of Jhailyn Ortiz the Phillies don’t have the same amount of money to spread around on their usual $50,000ish bonuses. This should force through less talent than before which might lessen the log jams in the low minors. Now this all could change if the Phillies pull out of Venezuela due to political concerns.
Kris Bryant is a better prospect and major league player. I don’t think the gap is as large as WAR says it is, but Bryant walks more, is a better defender, and is a really good baserunner. Maikel Franco is really really good.
Yes, he is on the 40 man roster for now and is younger than both Kelly Dugan and Aaron Altherr (and was taken in the same 2009 draft as both of them). Rhys Hoskins looks like the first baseman of the future right now, but Joseph has the raw abilities (plus raw power and decent approach) that he could grow into a challenger for that position now that the pressure of catching is gone. If he can handle third base in short bursts that is a potentially interesting bench piece.
There is no Bryce Harper in this draft, but Jason Groome (HS LHP) is already a better prospect than Brady Aiken was (Groome is still 16 will touch 96, has a plus curveball, and feel for pitching) . Riley Pint (HS RHP) is of a similar level of prospect (up to 98, plus curveball, potential plus changeup). On the college side you have RHP Alec Hansen who is 6’7″ up to 99 with plus to plus plus slider and above average changeup and LHP AJ Puk who sits 94-97 T98 with a plus slider and is also a 6’7″ giant. The hitting side is a bit lighter with HS OFer Blake Rutherford leading the pack (5 tool CF with advanced feel for hitting). So no there is no a generational talent, but there are a bunch of legitimate first overall pick type guys.
If we are talking low minors, the answer is RHP Franklyn Kilome. There is a good argument that he has as much upside as any pitches in the minors outside of Giolito and Urias. Reports surfaced this morning that he has touched 100 and 101 this season for Williamsport and he has a chance for a plus curveball and changeup. Honorable mention to Cornelius Randolph who is really good.
If you are talking players lower on lists right now, the answer is either RHP Adonis Medina or SS Jonathan Arauz. I think I lean Arauz. He is really young (just turned 17), is a switch hitter with a good feel for hitting, can stick at shortstop, and might have average raw power down the road. That may not sound like a ton, but if it all works out, that is a major league shortstop hitting .270-.280 with 15+ HRs, that is a perennial All-Star.
I would if Utley wants to come back. I don’t believe in Cesar so I don’t see a need in building strategy around him, but even if the Phillies do they can keep everyone around. The money isn’t an issue, they have way more than they can reasonably spend. But at this point it is all about what Utley wants to do.
Different kind of systems so this is a bit difficult (Phillies don’t have the upper minor players). But probably something like Aaron Nola, Roman Quinn, Franklyn Kilome, Ricardo Pinto, Ben Lively, Carlos Ruiz (salary balancing) assuming Crawford is off the table. This also is coming from where I value the players involved, it would be very painful.
No. In 2013 Cliff Lee had roughly $75M left on his contract over 2.5 seasons. He was having a dominant season, but was almost 35. If you are a team trading for Lee you are probably writing off one of those two remaining years due to decline or injury, so that is money the Phillies are paying. So now you are looking at $50M for 1.5 years, which is probably close to value if Lee continues at peak, but you aren’t giving up value for market here. So let’s say the Phillies make him a reasonable rental and a solid risk spread over those next two years so let’s say 5-10-10, that leaves a $50M tab for the Phillies to pick up. In that case I think they likely get something slightly better than the Price/Cueto return, a flawed prospect somewhere near 50 on a top 50 (Daniel Norris is rated much lower by everyone I have talked with than his public rankings), a good close major league piece, and a lottery ticket. So let’s say of guys the Phillies got recently, a package of Thompson, Eflin, Arano. Sure that would help the rebuild immensely, but there is no indication that ownership was paying $50M and giving up a dominant Lee for that return. The Phillies best chance at a good return for Lee would have been likely last season or this offseason when the contract was much more manageable.
I am going to cheat because I wouldn’t sign any mid level free agents yet. I would be all in on Jason Heyward. He is only 26 and is working on another 5+ WAR season. His defense makes him so valuable even when the bat isn’t all there. He is the type of guy who can give you now value and then be in his prime with the kids as they come up. I would give him however much money he wanted.
Probably Nick Williams, though their ETAs are really similar. Jake Thompson is a bit more blocked in his path to the majors given their pitching depth whereas Williams can play all three OF positions meaning there will always be a place for him. Both should be up at some point next year (as should Eflin, Crawford, Quinn, Knapp, and many others)
This is difficult because Brown is a bit of a weird prospect. He has plus raw power, but his approach is too aggressive to really get to it too often. He is a great defender in right field with a plus or better arm. The ceiling is that he gets enough approach to walk some and get to the raw power and he is a guy hitting like .250-.260 with 20 HRs. The more realistic ceiling if he can make it to the majors is a left handed Jeff Francoeur with maybe better defense.
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