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2017 Phillies player reviews: The Hitters

Back in March we previewed the 2017 season by making predictions for 60 players on the organizational depth chart, whether they were starting the year in Philadelphia or somewhere else in the system.

Now we’re looking back, both at their performances and at our predictions.

Now, the hitters.

CATCHER

(Or, Jorge has arrived)

MAJOR LEAGUES

Cameron Rupp

March 2017: Rupp put up fair offensive numbers in 2016 but still has plenty working against him in the year ahead. Catching prospects Andrew Knapp and Jorge Alfaro are both breathing down his neck, threatening the playing time that he would likely have already seen decreased on a better team, and he has the reputation of being a poor pitch caller, a trait ill-suited for a catcher working with promising young hurlers. On the bright side, he exceeded expectations in 2016, going yard 16 times and hitting with a high exit velocity (whatever that’s worth). Prediction: .240 AVG / .280 OBP / .430 SLG / 13 HR / 40 RBI / 0 SB / 1.0 WAR

October 2017: Rupp maintained his 2016 power through the current season, but took steps backward in most other offensive categories. As a result, he hasn’t been able to emerge as much more than he already was, and he continues to essentially tread water until he’s totally replaced by Alfaro and/or Knapp, which could happen as soon as Opening Day of 2018. Results: .217 AVG / .299 OBP / .417 SLG / 14 HR / 34 RBI / 1 SB / 1.0 WAR

– Daniel Walsh

 

Jorge Alfaro

March 2017: The team’s catching situation has become very fluid with how bad Andrew Knapp has been this spring, so instead of possibly coming up if/when the Phillies can find a taker for Cameron Rupp, Alfaro could be coming up a lot sooner. This is a projection for him to come up in mid-August and struggle in what would be his first time as an everyday starter. Prediction: .225 AVG / .290 OBP / .380 SLG / 4 HR / 20 RBI / 1 SB / 0.4 WAR

October 2017: Well, at least he came up in mid-August like I predicted. But Alfaro didn’t struggle nearly as much as I thought he would, instead becoming a surprising contributor. He still shows an aversion to walking (3 BB, 33 K in his call-up), which is an issue. But if he’s not the starting catcher in 2018, there’d better be a good reason for it. Results: .318 AVG / .360 OBP / .514 SLG / 5 HR / 14 RBI / 0 SB / 0.9 WAR

– Michael Sadowski

ON THE FRINGE

Andrew Knapp

March 2017: Knapp’s versatility as a switch-hitter and a catcher/first baseman should grab him one of the coveted bench spots. As he gets more reps, his defense is going to have to improve to match his offensive potential. Prediction: .275 AVG / .360 OBP / .400 SLG / 6 HR / 33 RBI / 3 SB / 1.2 WAR

October 2017: Despite being sidelined for more than a month, Knapp showed promise offensively but his defense/game calling needs work. Average, home runs and RBIs weren’t as high as predicted but his OBP was on point thanks to his high walk rate. Results: .257 AVG / .368 OBP / .368 SLG / 3 HR / 13 RBI / 1 SB / 0.5 WAR

– Kirsten Swanson

>>> DEPTH ASSESSMENT >>>

March 2017: Catcher is the most difficult position to develop, but the Phillies have a history of success here. Worst comes to worst they have Rupp to fill in the gaps until a better option emerges. If that option isn’t Alfaro (or Knapp), the Phils will probably search for a veteran with punch by 2019.

October 2017: It’s clear Alfaro is the way forward, and he’ll likely get the lion’s share of starts in 2018. But he needs to work on plenty of things, so nothing is set in stone. To help Alfaro, one would expect the Phils surround him with veteran talent that can contribute great defense. That means Rupp is probably gone. Knapp? He could always head back to triple-A, or the Phils can carry three catchers.

– Tim Malcolm

FIRST BASE

(Or, hey, I think we have an answer)

MAJOR LEAGUES

Rhys Hoskins

March 2017: Hoskins, one of Reading’s bash brothers last year, will attempt to follow up his historic double-A run in Lehigh Valley. Hoskins showcased himself well this spring, hitting .278 with two home runs. It’s tough to say whether Hoskins will get a September callup, but he’d have to earn it. Hoskins is primed to break for Philadelphia next spring.

October 2017: Well, I wasn’t wrong when I said Hoskins was primed to break for Philly next spring. The rookie has been nothing short of a revelation, as he was the fastest EVER to 18 home runs. He, along with Crawford, are the most advanced hitters the Phillies have in terms of approach. Results: .259 AVG / .396 OBP / .618 SLG / 18 HR / 48 RBI / 2 SB / 2.0 WAR

– Corey Sharp

Tommy Joseph

March 2017: There will be no controversy at first base this season: Tommy Joseph is the guy. Joseph hit 21 homers in limited playing time last season. With a full season ahead, Joseph should come close to 30 homers, and would not shock anyone if he eclipsed it. Prediction: .266 AVG / .321 OBP / .526 SLG / 27 HR / 77 RBI / 1 SB / 1.7 WAR

October 2017: Let’s be honest: my prediction sucked. Joseph gave us false hope after a surprisingly decent 2016. After getting much of the season to prove himself, the only thing the first baseman proved is that he’s not a starter. I had hopes the 26-year-old could at minimum be a platoon player, but even that may not be the case. Results: .240 AVG / .289 OBP / .432 SLG / 22 HR / 69 RBI / 1 SB / -1.3 WAR

– Corey Sharp

ON THE FRINGE

Brock Stassi

March 2017: Never an elite prospect, Stassi has gone from fighting to maintain relevance in the Phillies system to fighting for the final roster spot in only a few weeks thanks to robust spring numbers. His hot hitting actually began with a strong performance in the Venezuelan Winter League, but the 27-year-old hasn’t locked a spot yet. What he does offer is a left-handed bat on a righty-heavy team, as well as experience at both first base and the outfield, making him a possible platoon partner for Joseph. Prediction: .230 AVG / .290 OBP / .380 SLG / 3 HR / 0 SB / 20 RBI / 0.6 WAR

October 2017: It was nice to be optimistic about Stassi, especially when he was a surprise inclusion on the big league roster at a time when there were question marks about so many other young outfielders. It would have been unfair to expect him to be a breakout star, but there was early excitement about his hot Spring Training that didn’t pay dividends. He couldn’t keep up that hot streak and wound up not having much of a presence on the big league club. Results: .167 AVG / .278 OBP / .295 SLG / 2 HR / 7 RBI / 0 SB / -0.2 WAR

– Daniel Walsh

DEEPER DOWN

Jhailyn Ortiz

March 2017: Ortiz has the potential to be an all-star slugger for the Phils … in 2020, that is. At just 18 years old, Ortiz will look to progress and build on his eight homers and .231/.325/.434 line he scored in 47 Gulf Coast League games last season.

October 2017: The hope going into this season was he would improve his approach at the plate. His slash line shows he’s on the right track, hitting .302/.401/.560 in 47 games with Williamsport.

– Kirsten Swanson

>>> DEPTH ASSESSMENT >>>

March 2017: The Phillies have flexibility at first base, both in depth and financial commitments. Expect them to work through the internal options over the next two seasons. If a star doesn’t emerge, first base is an easy position to address through trades and free agency.

October 2017: So maybe a star has emerged. Thanks to his otherworldly campaign in 2017, Hoskins will be the man in 2018. Joseph will probably find a new home. Stassi can be depth in the quad-A vein.

– Tim Malcolm

Scott Kingery / Photo by: Lauren McLaughlin

MIDDLE INFIELD

(Or, tomorrow is on the doorstep)

MAJOR LEAGUES

Cesar Hernandez

March 2017: Hernandez’s game has improved in each of the last two seasons. In 2016, he was a capable leadoff man. With that kind of approach, Pete Mackanin will have no choice but to keep his second baseman in the lineup. Prediction: .289 AVG / .381 OBP / .402 SLG / 5 HR / 42 RBI / 27 SB / 4.8 WAR

October 2017: Hernandez has lived up to my expectations. He’s arguably the most consistent hitter on the team, and picked up right where he left off after missing six weeks due to an oblique strain. The second baseman’s future remains unclear because of the emergence of Crawford and Scott Kingery, but either way, he’s a productive major league player. Results: .294 AVG / .373 OBP / .421 SLG / 9 HR / 34 RBI / 15 SB / 3.1 WAR

– Corey Sharp

Freddy Galvis

March 2017: If Galvis can continue to play stellar defense, boost his OBP and deliver timely hits, the skipper will have a tough decision come mid-season, assuming J.P. Crawford makes his case for a promotion. Prediction: .252 AVG / .308 OBP / .370 SLG / 14 HR / 59 RBI / 20 SB / 2.9 WAR

October 2017: What Galvis provides on defense, as well as in the locker room, isn’t debatable. It’s his offense that will ultimately have Crawford supplant him at shortstop. A bit bullish on my prediction in the WAR department, the shortstop just doesn’t hit enough, resulting in a low OBP. Results: .255 AVG / .309 OBP / .382 SLG / 12 HR / 61 RBI / 14 SB / 1.3 WAR

– Corey Sharp

J.P. Crawford

March 2017: Crawford will struggle in his September audition, but as he has always in his career, he’ll take walks and get on base. Same as Dylan Cozens, I’m way more interested in his stat line with the IronPigs, where he hopefully can slash somewhere in the area of .310/.410/.480. Prediction: .260 AVG / .370 OBP / .380 SLG / 1 HR / 9 RBI / 3 SB / 0.4 WAR

October 2017: Man, what a roller coaster ride for Crawford this year. But he turned around his horrific start, earned his promotion and deserves to be part of the 2018 Phillies somehow. Results: .214 AVG / .356 OBP / .300 SLG / 0 HR / 6 RBI / 1 SB / 0.9 WAR

– Michael Sadowski

Andres Blanco

March 2017: Here’s one of the few players who you know what you’ll get from him. He’ll get about 200 at bats, he’ll probably be a hero once or twice, and he’ll provide clubhouse leadership. Prediction: .270 AVG / .325 OBP / .395 SLG / 5 HR / 30 RBI / 4 SB / 0.8 WAR

October 2017: Yikes, what the heck happened to Blanco in 2017? On the bright side, it’s an easy cut to move on from. Results: .192 AVG / .257 OBP / .292 SLG / 3 HR / 13 RBI / 1 SB / -0.3 WAR

– Michael Sadowski

ON THE FRINGE

Ty Kelly

March 2017: N/A

October 2017: Not much to say about Kelly’s contributions. He was a nice utility option and, hey, he beat the Giants. Thank you, Ty Kelly. Results: .193 AVG / .260 OBP / .341 SLG / 2 HR / 14 RBI / 0 SB / -0.1 WAR

– Tim Malcolm

NEXT IN LINE

Scott Kingery

March 2017: Kingery has raised eyebrows at spring training this year with a .286 average, two home runs and stellar defense. The second base prospect struggled in double-A after being promoted. He will start this season in double-A and could be in Philly as early as next April.

October 2017: What more could you ask out of the Paul Owens Award winner? The power display was a bit shocking, belting 26 homers combined in Reading and Lehigh Valley. Kingery has been as advertised, and then some, but we may not see him in Philadelphia until early May of 2018 due to service time loopholes.

– Corey Sharp

 

Jesmuel Valentin

March 2017: Valentin has utility player written all over him: he’s an unremarkable but not crippling hitter with little power, decent defense and no true position. He played only second base for Lehigh Valley last season, but has reportedly been working at shortstop heading into 2017 to improve his utility and versatility. In foreign leagues, he also saw time at third base and corner outfield positions. He’s a possibility to slot into the big league club in 2017 if early injuries affect the infield and the team isn’t willing or ready to call up J.P. Crawford.

October 2017: Valentin isn’t a big-time prospect, but he could wind up as a helpful bench piece for a future Phillies team. His 2017, though, will set the timetable for that happening back by perhaps as much as a full season. He put up rough offensive numbers in just 29 games before suffering a season-ending injury.

– Daniel Walsh

>>> DEPTH ASSESSMENT >>>

March 2017: Not since 2002 (with Chase Utley near the majors, Placido Polanco holding fort and Jimmy Rollins entrenched at shortstop) have the Phils had this kind of depth up the middle. Hernandez and Galvis are decent placeholders, with the former threatening to be an everyday insertion for even first-division clubs. Since Matt Klentak didn’t pull the trigger on any deals this offseason, there’s no need to do it now. Give Crawford his shot around midseason and turn Galvis into baseball’s best utility man, then see if Kingery can push Hernandez into trade conversations next offseason. If none of that works, you still have decent placeholders and plenty of cash to spend.

October 2017: Much of this is happening right now. Crawford came up later but looks like an obvious starter in 2018. Kingery’s minor-league performance has probably pushed Hernandez onto the trading block, but it’s uncertain if the Phillies will do anything big this winter. If they do, they can still slot Galvis into a spot with Crawford and wait for Kingery to arrive. Things are happening, and it’s becoming more obvious the Crawford-Kingery Connection will open business by mid-season 2018, latest.

– Tim Malcolm

THIRD BASE

(Or, what now?)

MAJOR LEAGUES

Maikel Franco

March 2017: Franco is aiming to put his sophomore slump behind him. To do that, the third baseman needs to have a consistent approach at the dish for every at bat. Prediction: .265 AVG / .318 OBP / .488 SLG / 32 HR / 98 RBI / 2 SB / 2.0 WAR

October 2017: Disappointing is an understatement. The 24-year-old has regressed even further from his sophomore slump last season, to the point where his slash line ranks as one of the worst in the National League. He hit a measly .202 when ahead in the count, proving a flawed approach. Results: .230 AVG / .281 OBP / .409 SLG / 24 HR / 76 RBI / 0 SB / -0.2 WAR

– Corey Sharp

DEEPER DOWN

Cole Stobbe

March 2017: Cole Stobbe is blessed with a very good baseball name and could become a very good baseball player. 2016 was his first season of professional ball, and the young third baseman put up a fine .270/.337/.405 slash line. Behind Franco, he’s arguably the organization’s most promising steward of the hot corner, but it’ll be some time before he makes the trip to Philadelphia — he should at least see single-A first.

October 2017: 2017 was Stobbe’s first year at a new level, having started the season in low-A, and his results were in line with a player scrapping to adjust to a new league. On the season, he slashed .203/.280/.376, striking out in 30.7% of his plate appearances (almost twice the k-rate he accrued in 2016). He may have figured something out at the end of the season, though, having reached base at a .360 clip in the final 14 games.

– Daniel Walsh

>>> DEPTH ASSESSMENT >>>

March 2017: It’s amazing this organization produced the game’s greatest third baseman, because since 2003 this position has been the Phils’ obvious weakness. Franco will get all of 2017 (and probably some of 2018) to prove he’s part of the club’s long-term plans. If it doesn’t work, in comes another external option a la David Bell, Wes Helms and Polanco.

October 2017: More than likely the Phils will have to make a decision on third base after 2018. Franco should get one more chance, but if he doesn’t click, there are a couple sideways options (Crawford to third?) before the team makes any major changes. It’s clear, however, that of all positions on the field, third is loaded with the most questions.

– Tim Malcolm

CENTERFIELD

(Or, all Odubel all the time)

MAJOR LEAGUES

Odubel Herrera

March 2017: Herrera is the Phillies’ best player and was the only representative for the club in the All-Star Game last season. A mid-season slump caused his numbers to dip a bit, but he played well enough to earn a long-term contract in the offseason. Phillies fans could be witnessing the next great Phillie this season. Prediction: .311 AVG / .387 OBP / .463 SLG / 19 HR / 61 RBI / 33 SB / 5.0 WAR

October 2017: While Hernandez might be the most consistent hitter on the roster, Herrera might be the best. He went into another mode after the all-star break, hitting .323/.378/.551, and has reestablished himself as the all-star caliber player we thought he was. We’ve seen problems with hustling and baserunning; the only thing that can stop Odubel Herrera from being great all the time is Odubel Herrera. The 25-year-old ended up having the year we expected, though I was bullish in my prediction. Results: .281 AVG / .325 OBP / .452 SLG / 14 HR / 56 RBI / 8 SB / 2.2 WAR

– Corey Sharp

ON THE FRINGE

Roman Quinn

March 2017: Roman Quinn, who travels dangerously close to the speed of light, should spend the year on the cusp between triple-A and the majors. He did well enough after his promotion to the bigs last season, but a crowded outfield and his inexperience above double-A will likely have him starting the year with the IronPigs. For Quinn, a good year is a healthy one; the rest will come from there. Prediction: .260 AVG / .330 OBP / .360 SLG / 2 HR / 8 SB / 14 RBI / 0.6 WAR

October 2017: There is a pretty good sense of what Roman Quinn can be: a very fast outfielder who hits for decent average. Unfortunately, what 2017 hasn’t solved is whether Quinn can stay healthy long enough to contribute in that role, and he hasn’t played since May 28. While many of his injuries have been fluky and not suggestive of recurring, long-term problems, he has lost a lot of time to the injury bug. The line “For Quinn, a good year is a healthy one” is as much the truth for his 2018 season as it was for his 2017 one.

– Daniel Walsh

NEXT IN LINE

Carlos Tocci

March 2017: It feels like Tocci has been around the Phillies organization forever, but he still isn’t close to joining the big-league club. Still just 21, he did well for the Clearwater Threshers in 2016, slashing .284 /.331/.362. He has Ben Revere-type power, which is to say none whatsoever, but his good defense in center has some hoping he can get on base enough to stay afloat.

October 2017: Tocci started 2016 seeing double-A for the first time, and he excelled by slashing .307/.362/.398. He finished the season with 54 plate appearances in triple-A, where he put up a measly .204 OBP. At only 22 years of age, he has plenty of time to figure out triple-A pitching before having to budge his way into a crowded Phillies outfield.

– Daniel Walsh

>>> DEPTH ASSESSMENT >>>

March 2017: The first piece of the long-term puzzle is in place with Herrera. If Quinn falters, Herrera stays in center, but if Quinn flies, anything can happen. Either way the Phils are in good shape here, at least through 2023.

October 2017: Quinn never got going, so scratch that one for now. Herrera is in center. It’s always possible the Phils make a big trade involving Herrera (or bringing in a center fielder that shifts Herrera over), but there’s nothing certain behind him to justify such a deal. Again, Quinn can’t be trusted every day, and Tocci is still a ways from the show. It’s all Odubel, all the time, and you’re gonna like it.

– Tim Malcolm

CORNER OUTFIELD

MAJOR LEAGUES

Aaron Altherr

March 2017: Like just about everyone on this team, this is Altherr’s chance to show that he deserves to be part of the team’s future. I don’t think he is. Prediction: .245 AVG / .310 OBP / .420 SLG / 16 HR / 48 RBI / 6 SB / 0.9 WAR

October 2017: Couldn’t be happier to be horribly, unquestionably wrong. But then again, the Phillies were too, not handing him the starting position in the outfield until late April when he was in the midst of a three-week span of obliterating baseballs. It’s still a crowded outfield. And Altherr is going to have to show he can last a whole year before they commit to him long-term. Results: .272 AVG / .340 OBP / .516 SLG / 19 HR / 65 RBI / 5 SB / 1.7 WAR

– Michael Sadowski

Nick Williams

March 2017: It’s not unusual for big-deal prospects to hit a bump in the road when they come close to the majors, and it’s possible that Williams’ struggles in 2016 could partly be owed to trying to swing his way to Philadelphia. Also troubling were reports that his attitude had slumped alongside his play, leading some to wonder if he had the “makeup” to be the all-star caliber major leaguer they initially hoped to see. He came into 2017 camp admitting that his swing and his attitude both needed adjusting, which may instill in him the patience to let his tools and athleticism work for instead of against him. He still has the potential to be a very good player with no unbearable weaknesses, with the potential to hit for average and power while playing okay defense somewhere in the outfield.

October 2017: Williams’ introduction to the majors has shown enough promise that any ill will toward him after 2016 should be gone. He may be overshadowed by the explosive impact Hoskins has had since his promotion, but Williams supports Herrera and Altherr to suddenly give the Phillies a formidable outfield. Results: .288 AVG / .338 OBP / .473 SLG / 12 HR / 55 RBI / 1 SB / 0.1 WAR

– Daniel Walsh

Daniel Nava

March 2017: The former Red Sox and non-roster invitee is hitting well enough to push his case for a bench spot in 2016. But with Altherr able to play all outfield positions, and offering a similar skill set, Nava may prove too redundant.

October 2017: When I wrote that we figured Chris Coghlan would make the team; remember those days? Well, Nava outplayed Coghlan and anyone’s expectation of his performance, putting up a phenomenal season as a bench bat and sometimes starter. Results: .301 AVG / .393 OBP / .421 SLG / 4 HR / 21 RBI / 1 SB / 1.2 WAR

– Tim Malcolm

GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

Michael Saunders

March 2017: Signing Saunders was the right move for the Phillies, who needed a short-term, left-handed outfielder with some pop who could stop the gap until whippersnappers like Quinn, Williams, et al. show up in the show. Now, it depends on whether they get the right Saunders — while his first half included 16 home runs, a .298 batting average and a trip to the All-Star Game in 2016, his .178 batting average in the second half was second-worst in baseball (min. 200 PA). He should be able to shrug off that poor stretch, but his health has never been a sure thing, either. The Phillies hope he will be a difference maker in a batting order that desperately needs one.  Prediction: .240 AVG / .310 OBP / .430 SLG / 18 HR / 2 SB / 50 RBI / 1.4 WAR

October 2017: Saunders’ track record led to caution about expecting him to spend 2017 as the all-star he was in the first half of 2016, but it seemed unlikely that he would be one of baseball’s worst players in the stretch he spent in Philly. The best thing that can be said about his time on the Phillies this year is that it will be completely forgotten in the excitement of the season’s closing stretch, which has featured positive steps from numerous other outfielders. Results: .205 AVG / .257 OBP / .360 SLG / 6 HR / 20 RBI / 0 SB / -0.7 WAR

– Daniel Walsh

Howie Kendrick

March 2017: Kendrick, a career .290 hitter, had a down year to his standards, hitting just .255 with the Dodgers. Kendrick will provide the Phils what they lacked all of last season: a “professional” hitter.  Prediction: .272 AVG / .337 OBP / .378 SLG / 12 HR / 46 RBI / 7 SB / 1.1 WAR

October 2017: Kendrick was excellent … when he played that is. He was a professional hitter, as advertised, that bounced back from a down 2016 for the Dodgers. He had two separate stays on the disabled list before getting dealt to Washington at the deadline. Results: .340 AVG / .397 OBP / .454 SLG / 2 HR / 16 RBI / 8 SB / 1.3 WAR

– Corey Sharp

ON THE FRINGE

Cameron Perkins

March 2017: The bench competition is tight and with Brock Stassi’s versatility at first base and outfield, it looks like Perkins is the odd man out. Perkins will hope to get more playing time in Lehigh Valley when/if Nick Williams is called up.

October 2017: Stassi didn’t pan out and with injuries to the outfield, Perkins cracked the big leagues in June. He didn’t fare much better and will have a tough time cracking the roster out of spring training next year. Results: .182 AVG / .237 OBP / .273 SLG / 1 HR / 8 RBI / 0 SB / -0.9 WAR

– Kirsten Swanson

NEXT IN LINE

Dylan Cozens

March 2017: Hopefully 50 at bats or so as a September call-up. I’m way more interested in his Lehigh Valley stats for 2017. Prediction: .216 AVG / .280 OBP / .410 SLG / 2 HR / 11 RBI / 2 SB / -0.3 WAR

October 2017: He never made the majors, and somewhat disappointed in a full Allentown season. He did hit 27 home runs but struck out a massive 194 times in 135 games. Too much to earn a call-up.

– Michael Sadowski

Andrew Pullin

March 2017: Pullin has been sidelined with an oblique strain this spring, which puts him out of the running for a bench job. He’ll likely spend the year in Lehigh Valley with the likes of Nick Williams getting the call before him.

October 2017: Pullin spent the first half in Reading where he hit 14 homers and batted .308/.368/556. He struggled in Lehigh Valley after getting the call, batting just .231/.280/.412.

– Kirsten Swanson

DEEPER DOWN

Cornelius Randolph

March 2017: Randolph’s ability to hit for average hasn’t been doubted at any point in his professional career, but it’s the only tool that can be said about. A successful year for him would include looking comfortable with a glove on and finding enough power to be suited as a left fielder, the position he’s fallen into.

October 2017: 2017 has to be called a success for Randolph. He began the year with a promotion to high-A and hit for more power than he had at any other point in his professional career (13 home runs and a .152 ISO). His average took a dip, but he still got on base at a .338 rate and put up a .344 wOBA.

– Daniel Walsh

>>> DEPTH ASSESSMENT >>>

March 2017: Klentak’s strategy of filling the corner holes short-term is wise – there’s no certainty at all with Cozens, Goeddel and Williams (plus Altherr, who also plays the corners). The hope is that one of the prospects is stout enough to fill one of the outfield holes, joining Herrera and potentially Quinn, or Herrera and a 2018 or 2019 acquisition, or Quinn and a 2018 or 2019 acquisition. Bottom line: there’s flexibility here, but questions will be answered this year. Beyond 2019, the corners look a lot more worrisome.

October 2017: In essence a prospect did emerge (Williams), while Altherr simply took over where we all thought Quinn would rise. Now we have an outfield, and it feels good. But don’t think this is it forever – Williams still has defensive deficiencies and strikeout problems, while Altherr has to stay healthy for a full campaign. That said, the outfield in 2018 is more than likely set. When was the last time we had a set outfield in the *beginning* of the offseason?

– Tim Malcolm

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. pamikeydc

    October 4, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Tim!!! Dude. Super long article. Took me about 20 mins to read, so hats off for your incredible time and effort into leading the charge on this piece. Great article.

  2. donald schell

    October 4, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    2018 the year of trades from MiL. 2019 the year of buying big time FA.

  3. denzen

    October 4, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Everyone seems to have lot more faith in JP Crawford, than I do. He plays a great defense where ever he is put, but I don’t see anything is his recent offense, that makes me think he is anything but a utilty player. I would like to see him get some time in the outfield. I hope this group stays mostly intact, and Hoskins continues to get time in left field, so maybe Joseph gets off to a hot start, and they can hopefully get something for him. I would look at Quinn as nothing more than a 5th outfielder. Come middle of May, when Kingery comes up, is the time to makes moves with the offense. This winter is the time to work on the pitching staff.

    • schmenkman

      October 5, 2017 at 8:23 am

      Granted it’s still early, but Crawford already hit as well as Galvis overall in his short stint (though you may think Galvis is also only a utility player).

      He had a lower average, but got on base much more than Galvis:

      Galvis….. .255/.309/.382 (80 wRC+)
      Crawford… .214/.356/.300 (83 wRC+)

      wRC+ is the comprehensive hitting stat, like OPS+ but more accurate.

      Crawford is only 22, and showed with a .900+ OPS in his last 2 1/2 months in AAA that he has the potential for much more:

      312 PAs, so call it half a season
      .280 average
      .522 slugging
      So .242 ISOlated power
      16 doubles, 5 triples, 13 HR

      It’s AAA, so it’s not comparable, but just for a frame of reference the slugging and ISO would both rank 2nd this year among MLB shortstops.

      The potential is certainly there.

      • Mike Fassano

        October 5, 2017 at 10:12 am

        Woo Hoo! Finally, the new advanced stats back up the “eyeball” test.

    • Mike Fassano

      October 5, 2017 at 10:09 am

      I’m guessing that you’re too young to remember Bowa when he first came up. J.P. will make the plays at SS, and hit better than Freddy. You can’t use injuries to measure Quinn’s talent level. If he’s 100% healthy next Spring he’ll give Williams strong competition for the starting LF job.

      • denzen

        October 5, 2017 at 3:15 pm

        Mike you are right, “You can’t use injuries to measure Quinn’s talent level”. However, I feel like you can use injuries to measure a players availability level. That is why I would not even mess with him in AAA. Make him a 4th or 5th outfielder, and leave him alone. Let him be a defensive replacement, a pinch hitter/runner, and get the occasional start.
        Also, I don’t expect Williams to begin next season in left. I believe that will be Altherr in left and Williams in right. And lets hope Altherr can stay healthy. (As you may have noticed I have an issue with injuries. Personal experience. haha)

  4. denzen

    October 5, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    I feel like comparing Freddy Galvis or Larry Bowa when they first came up, to Crawford, is not comparing apples to apples. When Galvis came up the Phils were an old team, with a old declining shortstop, and an old 2nd baseman, who was not forthright with his injuries. When Bowa came up there really was no middle infield to speak of. I mean Bobby Wine, or John Vuckovich, or Terry Harman. really…(Mike I know you pride yourself in being an old guy, who has watched a lot of baseball) But….I remember when Bowa and Denny Doyle when came up, Doyle was supposed to be the better middle infielder, but Bowa just willed himself into being an allstar. Now as Crawford comes up, the Phils have a young established (still improving, IMO) middle infield. It maybe the strength of the team, and people are suggesting, they trade one or both of them, and give Crawford a starting job. I say give it time. He is only 22. Schmenkman, until he seriously cuts down on his swing, I am not comfortable giving him with a starting job. Just make sure he gets 400-450 at bats,and improves his approach at the plate. His defense is stellar where ever they put him in the infield.

    • schmenkman

      October 5, 2017 at 3:23 pm

      Crawford’s approach is already miles ahead of Galvis’ though.

      He hasn’t been squaring up balls yet in his first 20 games like he did for those 2 1/2 months in AAA, but even with that, overall he’s done as well as Galvis so far.

  5. denzen

    October 7, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    This feels like the first year Galvis has been willing to modify his approach at the plate at all. This really is the first time anyone has talked about the future middle infield after he is gone. Competition is a good thing. huh. Also, seems like when Kingery came up to AAA Crawford’s numbers turned around.

    • schmenkman

      October 8, 2017 at 8:34 pm

      I don’t know why Crawford would see Kingery as competition.

      Also, that “competition” did the opposite to Kingery’s numbers.

  6. denzen

    October 8, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Not competition for a position, but competition for being the top prospect. Kingery unseated Crawford as the “Top Dog” in the infield, coming up through the organization. Reading a couple stories, it seemed to help light a fire under Crawford.

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