Phillies Nation

2013 Spring Training

2013 Non-Roster Invitee Preview: Update

Quintero remains the non-roster invitee with the best chance to make the Phillies out of Spring Training. Photo AP

We’re a little bit over halfway through Major League Spring Training, and not including the depth guys that were added to the roster late for depth, the Phillies have eight non-roster invitees still in camp. Let’s reassess their chances.

Still the Clubhouse Favorite

Humberto Quintero

What I originally wrote:

Quintero is primarily the front runner for the early season back-up catching role due to the amount of experience he has in the big leagues. Quintero has almost no bat (career .234/.267/.323) and despite the fact that he was on the 2004 Padres with Jake Peavy in his prime and the 2005 Astros with Roy Oswalt in his prime and Roger Clemens putting up a league-leading 1.87 ERA, Quintero didn’t catch those guys. He often served as Wandy Rodriguez‘s personal catcher much in the same way Brian Schneider was accidentally-on-purpose Vance Worley‘s personal catcher throughout 2011.

This is not to say Quintero does not have positives: Quintero is a fine defensive catcher via the eye test and UZR says he has saved 26.2 runs over the course of his career. As much as it would be fun if this were a race for a roster spot, this is Quintero’s spot to lose. Valle would benefit from playing every day more in Lehigh Valley than playing once every five days in Philadelphia.

Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: A. Quintero will very likely be Kratz’s back-up until Chooch returns. In terms of back-up catchers, you could do worse.

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2013: A+. In fact, look for Quintero to start the home opener on April 5, which is the first Phillies’ day game after a night game.

Where he stands now:

Quintero’s odds of making the team have not changed since that writing. Quintero has hit .231/.313/.231 in 16 Spring PA and has not faced particularly stiff competition from anyone by Joseph and Joseph is already in the minors.

New Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: A+ (Stock: Up)

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2013: A+ (Stock: Unchanged)


Greatly Improved Chance to Make the Phils

Yuniesky Betancourt

What I originally wrote:


Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: If there is a higher power and they have mercy, please let this be none.

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2013: See above.

Where he stands now:

In 33 Spring PA, Betancourt is hitting .379/.394/.414. On Tuesday, we explored the now very real possibility that the second utility infielder position could very well come down to Betancourt and Pete Orr if the Phillies choose to play the equally or more hot-hitting Freddy Galvis every day in Triple-A. Betancourt must be on the Major League roster by March 24 or he can opt out of his contract if he is still a Minor League player.

New Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: B- (Stock: Way up)

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2013: B (Stock: Way up)


Aaron Cook

What I originally wrote:

Quick aside: when I was in middle school, I was a batboy for the independent league Allentown Ambassadors. When a former Major Leaguer like former Phils Kim Batiste, Juan Bell, and Rich Hunter came to the Ambassadors, they were treated like rock stars, royalty. I’m talking free hot dogs at Yocco’s and plenty of coverage on Service Electric Cable TV.

Cook will come to Phillies camp but should really not be in consideration for a Major League spot. The Phils already have five starters, not including Tyler Cloyd, Jonathan Pettibone, and even Morgan and Ethan Martin who are capable pitchers. Cloyd and Pettibone are best bets as spot starters since they are already on the 40-man roster  and have options. Even if there was a path to the Phillies, Cook’s slowing talent does not warrant it: since his 2008 All-Star season, Cook is 24-35 with a 5.08 ERA and a 1.517 WHIP.

Back to Yocco’s and SECTV: he is the kind of veteran, former Major Leaguer that Lehigh Valley fans will adore and he will help the Pigs compete for the International League title in 2013.

Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: None. Cook has too many folks in front of him and he has rapidly declined in the last four years since his All-Star 2008.

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2013: F-. I always hesitate to say that someone does not have a chance to see time with the Phillies. After all, Les Walrond and R.J. Swindle did pitch for the Phillies in a year they won the World Series and did not start Spring Training on the 40-man. But the Phillies starting rotation is unbelievably reliable, using only nine starters last year. Yet, strange things happen, even in winning years (the 2009 Phils used 12 starters). If Cook is a Phillie in 2013, it will be due to a series of injuries. He’s currently a solid tenth on my “Likeliness to Start a Game as a Pitcher for the Phillies” depth chart.

Wow – how did I write that much nonsense? To keep it short and sweet, Cook’s chances have greatly improved. His 2.45 ERA in 11 IP is the best among Phillies starters not named Cole Hamels and while he doesn’t strike out anybody (2.5 K/9 IP this Spring) he hasn’t walked anybody (2.5 BB/9 IP) this Spring either. John Lannan‘s solid Spring has closed the door on any competition for the fifth starter spot but Cook may now have value as a long man. He’ll, at very worst, be in camp until the end.

New Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: C+ (Stock: Way up)

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2013: B- (Stock: Way up)


Impressive Performances in Really Small Samples

Rodrigo Lopez

What I originally wrote:

I don’t want to overstate what Lopez did for the Phillies in 2009 but I found it pretty special: stabilizes a division favorite’s suddenly spiraling out-of-control-because-of-injury rotation by earning wins in three of his first four starts with a 3.09 ERA. A lot of it was due to luck, but sometimes, it is better to be lucky than good.

Lopez is a nice to have for an inevitable injury. He firmly falls into the Steven Lerud and Orr category of “nice to have, safe because no one will claim them if you designate them for assignment”. Lopez pitched exclusively as a reliever last year for the Cubs before being sent to Triple-A Iowa, where he posted a 5.28 ERA in 15 starts, and struggled giving up hits at a high rate.

Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: None. Lopez was in this group because his primary function last year at the MLB level was as a reliever but any time he would see in 2013 would be as an emergency starter. The Phillies have a full rotation plus Tyler Cloyd and Jonathan Pettibone who are Major League-ready in their rotation. Lopez has a steep road to make the team out of Opening Day because of the depth created by the John Lannan signing.

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2013: D-. I personally would use Cloyd or Pettibone for a spot or emergency start but it would use one of their options and would start Pettibone’s arbitration clock. Lopez has been around MLB-average for the last few years. Solid depth signing but should not figure much into the Phillies plans.

Lopez has absolutely turned it on in limited innings this Spring. He has allowed no runs in seven innings with a 1.000 WHIP and five Ks. Still – it is only seven innings and it is only Spring Training. Lopez has pitched well enough to see his stock rise slightly. Keep this in mind: he did face considerably easier competition according to Baseball Reference’s Spring Opponent Quality Meter than everyone on the Phillies other than Justin Friend.

New Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: F+ (Stock: Slight Rise)

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2013: D- (Stock: Unchanged)


Jermaine Mitchell

What I originally wrote:

We talked briefly about Mitchell when his December signing went under the radar. Mitchell, now 28, was ranked eighth by Baseball America among A’s prospects headed into 2012, one ahead of former Phillies prospect Michael Taylor. He earned the superlatives of Fastest Baserunner and Best Defensive Outfielder but could not impress enough in his first extended shot in Triple-A Sacramento (.252/.345/.386) to earn a stint with the A’s in 2012. A bit old for the prospect side,  Mitchell latched on with the Phillies after the A’s let him go.

Mitchell has a lot of pluses, namely defense and speed. The downfall with Mitchell, however, is that his base running instincts are poor and boasts only a 67.29% success rate on steals. Mitchell has C+ power, can hit some home runs, and would absolutely be worth giving a shot to in a reserve role in 2013, as his age and previous successes in the Minors indicate that it is time to see what he can do. This is the kind of cost-effective move that can pay off but with so many similar players, Mitchell projects best-case as a slightly better, left-handed hitting John Mayberry Jr., Mitchell will likely not get a chance to latch on with the Phils at any point this season.

Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: F+. It would take an insane series of breaks for Mitchell to make the team out of camp, which would have to include the Phillies sending both Darin Ruf and Domonic Brown to Lehigh Valley to start the year, shipping Ender Inciarte back to Arizona, and cutting or trading either or both Mayberry and Laynce Nix, but Mitchell has a useful skill set in a suddenly defensively-poor outfield. It’s not impossible that he breaks camp with the team, but a hot Spring from Brown, Inciarte, Mayberry, Ruf, or even Tyson Gillies puts the kabosh on this one really quick.

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2013: D-. So, Mitchell could be a really solid role player for the Phillies and could be a guy who gets called up right away if there is an injury but he is too similar to Mayberry to really have a shot and Ruf is a superior left-handed hitter. Again, it is not impossible, but Mitchell sits firmly ninth on my probability scale of outfielders who will be in Spring Training with the Phillies who could see time in 2013, ahead of just Zach Collier and the next man on the list.

So, not a lot has changed for Mitchell except that his exceptional Spring in limited opportunities (3 triples, 2 doubles, 3 steals) will make it even more disappointing for him when he does not make the Phillies out of camp. While Nix and Ruf have disappointed this Spring, Brown and Inciarte have excelled and Mayberry has played about as well as you would hope.

New Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: F+ (Stock: Unchanged)

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2013: D- (Stock: Unchanged)


Stock Relatively Unchanged

Pete Orr

What I originally wrote:

Much to my surprise in 2011, Pete Orr began the year with the Phillies on their Opening Day roster. Last year? Orr didn’t catch me off guard. Orr filled in well in 57 PA last year, hitting .315/.327/.444, is still among the fastest players in the Phillies organization, and still plays, at worst, average defense at all infield positions. Depending on the Phillies’ development plans for Cesar Hernandez, Orr is likely the first option to come up from Lehigh Valley should there be an injury.

Like Steven Lerud yesterday, a lot of Orr’s value comes in the fact that he’s just valuable enough to have on a roster but not so valuable that another team would select him off waivers. With limited roster space, that is a plus for Orr. Another advantage for Orr? He will be able to showcase himself as the starting second baseman for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic.

Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: D+. Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis complicate Orr’s chances of starting the year with the team, but if Young, Rollins, or Utley aren’t ready, or even Frandsen or Galvis, Orr is probably the first infielder up.

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2013: C. Not as likely as last year, but a reasonable 50/50 shot to be on the roster at some point in 2013 unless Hernandez or one of the others greatly outplays him.

While Betancourt’s impressive play dampens my enthusiasm for Orr slightly, Orr is still faster and a better fielder than Betancourt. Because he spent time with Team Canada, Orr has only had 11 PA (.273/.273/.818) so it would not be surprising to see a lot more of him this week before final decisions are made.

New Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: D (Stock: Slight downgrade)

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2013: C- (Stock: Slight downgrade)


Steven Lerud

What I originally wrote:

Lerud came into last year’s camp with a career .193/.268/.303 Minor League line and no Major League experience. He ended the year with a late season cameo. I remarked in last year’s preview: “Because of the odd nature, and frequency, of catcher injuries, and the fact that the Phillies have been perfectly comfortable using Dane Sardinha in the past, I’m leaving the door just a little cracked open for Lerud.”

The same applies this year – Lerud is as good defensively as Quintero and that’s pretty much what you look for in a back-up catcher. More importantly, he is the kind of guy you can add to your 40-man roster and not worry that another team will put a waiver claim on him when you send him back down. Lerud could start the year at any level, Reading and up, and it would not surprise me.  While Quintero has the inside track to win the temporary back-up job out of camp, if Quintero comes to camp out of shape or faces an injury, Lerud could start the year with the Phils.

Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: D+. Lerud’s odds went from “None” to “D+”. While semantically, that isn’t a huge leap, it certainly feels like it. With the right set of circumstances, Lerud could be on the Phils’ Opening Day roster.

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2013: C-. The math gets tough once Chooch gets back and the Phillies have three catchers and a few prospects who can play, but in a pinch, Lerud is good for a call-up and can clear waivers. The Phillies have gone at least four catchers deep every year since 2007 so don’t be surprised if Lerud is catcher number four in 2013.

Lerud is the lightest hitting catcher in camp both over his career and in a small sample this Spring. He is perfectly fine defensively. His play, nor the play of the catchers around him, change my ranking.

New Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: D+ (Stock: Unchanged)

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2013: C- (Stock: Unchanged)


Stock Down

Zach Miner

What I originally wrote:

Miner’s a pitcher who found a home in the Majors with  the AL pennant winning 2006 Detroit Tigers, breaking in around the same time Chad Durbin returned to the Majors with the club. The two will be reunited in camp. The Pride of Palm Beach is coming off two really solid years as a reliever in Triple-A, first for Omaha in 2011 then Toledo in 2012 but has the ability to start. I likely flip-flopped Miner and Rodrigo Lopez on my lists (Miner is more a reliever who can start, Lopez is more a starter who can relieve), but Miner has been effective as both.

Miner is a really interesting wild card to throw into the Spring Training mix: he missed all of 2010 with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. He could be a useful reliever for the club or an emergency spot starter. He also could continue to develop as a reliever as he gains confidence back as he was doing in Omaha and Toledo. I wouldn’t want Miner taking time away from Phillippe Aumont or a returning Michael Stutes unless he really pitches well. And at age 30, with two really solid bounce-back years off Tommy John, Miner is suddenly again a viable pitcher. This was a really nice signing, even if the Phillies don’t end up putting him on the roster.

Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: F. I liked this signing a lot. Miner’s road to the Bank was a lot clearer before the Phillies added his former teammate Durbin. It is a little more complicated now but his successes as a reliever in Triple-A over the last two years coming off of Tommy John were rather impressive. His odds as a swing man, spot starter, or long man are better than Morgan’s.

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2013: D+. Miner has a few different ways to see time with the Phillies. It is not a slam dunk and the logjam of young righties in front of him, including Aumont, Stutes, Justin De Fratus, B.J. Rosenberg, and Michael Schwimer, is daunting, but it is possible.

Miner has gotten the most opportunities out of any of the righties in camp and now has a much clearer path to the Phillies roster now that De Fratus and Rosenberg are back in the minors and Schwimer was dealt to the Blue Jays. That being said, he hasn’t made the most of the opportunity. Miner has allowed 12 hits and 9 ER in 8 IP for a 10.13 ERA – I know veterans work on “stuff” during Spring Training but those numbers are hard to ignore much in the opposite way that Betancourt’s are.

New Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: F- (Stock: Slight downgrade)

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2013: D- (Stock: Downgrade)


Lastly, for those playing at home, here’s a list of folks no longer in Major League camp out of the non-roster invitees and where they went:

Cody Asche – Minors

Andres Blanco – Released, then re-signed to Minor League deal

Juan Cruz – Mutual Release

Josh Fields – Minors

Justin Friend – Minors

Cesar Jimenez – Minors

Tommy Joseph – Minors

Michael Martinez – Minors

Joe Mather – Released

Adam Morgan – Minors

J.C. Ramirez – Minors

Kyle Simon – Minors

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