With the trade deadline passed and the minor league season coming down the home stretch I asked for you to give me some questions to answer. You guys delivered.
Scott Bailey: Do you really think that Ruben wasn’t getting value in his attempts to make trades yesterday?
I do, with some caveats. Amaro is looking for a specific type of talent back right now. He wants pieces that will help the team in 2017, not 2015 and not 2019. This does limit the players he is targeting in deals, but I think he was receiving offers that returned 2014-2016 value, and that doesn’t fit on the general timeline of rebuild the Phillies are on. Amaro can afford to wait and trade both this August and this winter, I don’t think he is under ownership pressure that would create the kind of desperation that other teams were looking for. Also other organizations were looking for the Phillies to be making salary dumps, but back to the 2017 timeline, freeing up money in 2015 and 2016 does not gain them anything they can’t already do.
Dan Cenneno: The Phillies seem likely to have a top 10 pick in 2015. How many years past that do you see them picking in the top ten?
I expect the 2015 Phillies to be really bad and the 2016 Phillies to be bad and interesting. That 2015 team should guarantee a pick in the Top 10 in 2016, not sure the 2016 team will guarantee that in 2017. I don’t think you see Top 10 picks beyond that time period.
Al Bixler: Does MAG figure into starting rotation conversation come ST or does he stay in the pen?
Dan Cenneno: Does MAG still have starting potential? Do you think the Phillies will give him another opp. to start? Should they?
MAG has the raw stuff to start but there are many questions to be answered. In relief he has been up to 97 and down to 90 with the fastball. He certainly has the pitch mix to start. He has experienced declines in velocity after his first inning of relief work, which is concerning for him being a starting pitcher. I think you see the Phillies stretch him out next Spring, but if he can’t keep the velocity up over a full start or he shows any sign of pain they will stick him back in the bullpen where he should be effective.
Brian Rosenwald: Which of the 3 amazing Julys (Walding, Tocci, & Cozens) is likely to be “real” & followed by a great Aug?
Those three in July:
Mitch Walding – .300/.369/.544, 14 2Bs, 1 3B, 2 HR, 11 BB, 26 K
Carlos Tocci – .293//.339/.448, 7 2Bs, 4 3Bs, 1 HR, 8 BB, 20 K
Dylan Cozens – .336/.364/.527, 4 2Bs, 1 3B, 5 HRs, 6 BB, 24 K
I think Tocci is the most “real” because it is the most complete combination of building skills, sustainable results, and pedigree. I think the power will grow, but I am not sure he is going to continue into a great August just because he is still small and young, he is going to eventually feel the grind of the year and fall off a bit. Cozens is the most likely to continue, but I really worry about the number of strikeouts and lack of walks. He has shown a better ability to attack the baseball and get to his power, but he still needs to put it all together. I am going to be skeptical of Walding until he sustains his success, the doubles are nice, but this is a guy who has lacked the sustained ability to drive the ball. All are “stock up” and it isn’t just the great statistical lines.
Ghost of Manny Trillo: I’d like to know more about Luis Encarnacion, and what you think of him. Also I’d be interested in learning more about the Dominican Summer League—where that German kid Julsan Kamera plays—and any other prospects that low in the system that you think would be of interest.
Encarnacion has been holding his own as the youngest player stateside in affiliated ball. I have heard positive and “meh” reports on him. He has put some great swings on the ball and can show some big power at times. He is still 16, but being confined to 1B/DH that young is a tough road. He is going to need to mash the ball and continue mashing all the way up the levels.
The DSL is definitely stronger than its sister league the VSL, as more teams pull out of Venezuela. The names to pay attention to on the hitting side are Kamara (who Phillies signed out of Germany a year and a half ago), Edwin Rodriguez (100k bonus in 2013, lacks standout tools), and Bryan Martelo ($230,000 bonus in 2013, RF profile). The big tell on who to pay attention to will be who the Phillies bring stateside this fall.
Anonymous1: Will we get to see Watson and Morgan pitch this year and what is up with Gueller , Ive read his fastball has been a bit down compared to when drafted and who is now the second best pitching prospect behind Nola
Joe Jordan has said that both Watson and Morgan will be throwing against batters in the Florida Instructional League this fall. Morgan’s timeline has been pushed back a bit from original statements. Both are doing throwing routines right now.
Mitch Gueller has been 88-90 with his fastball so far this year, which is a far cry from the 92-94 touching 96 he was as an amatuer. The Williamsport staff thinks there is more velocity in there, but right now he has been holding back while he gets comfortable with his mechanics and control. I have talked with Mitch Rupert (who covers the Crosscutters for the Williamsport Sun Gazette) and he has said that the next step in the process will be Gueller learning to let it loose.
I think the second best pitching prospect spot is down to 3 left handed pitchers. Jesse Biddle has the most pedigree, but the stuff and control need to come back. Yoel Mecias has the most upside, but he hasn’t had the stuff be consistently sharp since returning from Tommy John surgery, but he has the most upside. Matt Imhof the Phillies second round pick this year has been very good, but he still needs to add either velocity or secondary offerings, or both to have a good feel for the ceiling. But he has solid upside and has been pitching very well. There is a lot of volatility right now with those three, but there is also good upside present as well.
Evan: Roster wise, what can we expect in our upper levels next season? AAA and more specifically AA? Reading could be very exciting despite a lack of pitching (any guesses on who moves up to the Fightin Phils outside of Crawford and Nola? Quinn?)
There is going to be some interesting names at the top of the minors in 2015. Not going to go through a full rundown but the roster highlights are likely to include.
But the most exciting thing might be the potential midseason impact of players like Matt Imhof, Yoel Mecias, Brandon Liebrandt, Aaron Brown, and Andrew Knapp pushing their way to Reading by the middle of the season
PBRLUKE: What can you tell us about Ranger Suarez? Is he suspect or a prospect?
Sadly I can’t tell you anything about Ranger Suarez other than his statistics are ridiculous (80.2 IP 1.56 ERA 2 HR 1 BB 78 K). Until the guys from the VSL and DSL come stateside it is nearly impossible to get accurate reports on their stuff, given his year, it would not surprise me if they brought him over for fall instructs.
joecull: Which under-the-radar Phillies prospects made the biggest improvements this year?
Under-the-radar is a really difficult thing to quantify because I tend to view players in their current value. If we are looking at beginning of the year lists than David Buchanan and Jiandido Tromp have had the biggest breakouts. Both were off my Top 30, but were 32 and 33 on my list, Buchanan looks like a solid #5 starter and Tromp is a guy who won’t jump to the top of lists this year, but could make a huge leap a year from now. Another guy with his stock rising his GCL catcher Jesus Posso (who is showing very good defensive skills and offensive potential), but that is Chris King’s guy so I won’t take him (premium write up is here). The guy whose stock is most up is probably Deivi Grullon, it is hard to say he is under the radar because prospect sites have been rating him very highly, but his skill set has kept him off the public radar. He has struggled with the bat of late, but he is a potential impact defender behind the plate. He isn’t going to put up eye popping numbers, but in a short stint at Lakewood he showed some pop in his bat and a good feel for contact. He is firmly cemented in the Phillies Top 10 prospects and should be a guy Phillies fans know about.
Dave P: What’s the latest on Triple A OF Leandro Castro? Do you see him getting a call up to Philly this season?
He is playing more in control this year, he offers a good 5th outfielder skill set, but he isn’t good enough to force his way to Philly. If the Phillies trade Byrd I think he could get the call because of all the LH bats already up there. Going forward he could fill the John Mayberry Jr role for the team if that is the direction the Phillies want to go. Given their situations I would rather see him play than Grady Sizemore, but that isn’t going to happen.
Dalton: When do we get to see the newly acquired talent that we signed on July 2nd
Based on precedent the Phillies will likely have the four hitters stateside this fall for the Florida Instructional League. With their college heavy draft this past year all four could break camp with the GCL Phillies next year after Extended Spring Training. In general anyone the Phillies sign for over $250,000 has started their career in the GCL. My guess is Brito will be moving immediately to CF while the other two play 2B and SS.