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2017 Capital Baseball League World Series
The 2017 CBL World Series featured 2 teams going in the opposite direction – the aging 100 win Arrickdale Ungulates with their last playoff shot for a few years and the up and coming Philadelphia Whiz Kids who look to be a powerhouse for years to come. The Ungulates were second in the league in runs scored with great power, solid pitching, and a great back end of the bullpen while Philadelphia led the CBL in pitching with great fielding behind it. Oh, and the Kids outhomered Arrickdale so this was a very even match.
With the Kids winning their previous series in five games, they could align their rotation to start Clayton Kershaw in game 1 and protect Jake Odorizzi by pitching him in Arrickdale away from their 1-11 home run park. The Ungulates, however, had been pushed to seven games by the Indiana Icons so were forced to pitch Cole Hamels twice and Johnny Cueto only once.
Big questions coming in…Can Arrickdale get a win against Kershaw? Can Jake Odorizzi hold down a lineup which could feature 8 right-handed hitters against his 6 diamonds and 5.1% home run chances? Will the Ungulates defense loaded with 3’s give up runs? And the question you get every short series…who will get the key hits and who can bunch their hits to score runs?
Game 1: Clayton Kershaw vs Rick Porcello. Philadelphia’s superstar young catcher Gary Sanchez started off the scoring in the second by going deep. The next inning they loaded the total base column with two outs when Jeremy Hazelbaker homered followed by back-to-back triples by Cameron Maybin and Jose Altuve to make it 3-0. Edwin Encarnacion doubled in a run in the bottom of the third to make it 3-1. Altuve singled, stole second, and was singled in by Adrian Beltre to make it 4-1 – the final score.
Game 2: Jake Odorizzi vs Cole Hamels. Both pitchers shut out the opponent for the first four innings before Chris Young homered to give the Whiz Kids the lead. Stymied by Odorizzi over 5 innings, with two outs Adam Jones walked and Wil Myers doubled him home to tie the game and advanced to third on the throw to the plate. Jordan Smith went to the bullpen for Kyle Barraclough directing him “don’t walk anybody - throw strikes.” Barraclough promptly hit Hunter Pence with a pitch and then uncorked a wild pitch to allow the go ahead run. Brandon Phillips singled but Matt Kemp whiffed to keep the game 2-1. Arrickdale went on to score five runs in the next two innings led by a 3-run homer by Xander Bogaerts to even the series with a 7-2 victory.
Game 3: Justin Verlander vs Ervin Santana. Having gained their road split, Philadelphia hoped to leverage their home field advantage. Addison Russell pounded a 2-out double to give the Whiz Kids a 1-0 lead in the second. Gary Sanchez went deep two innings later to double the lead. But the events of the top of the fifth altered the momentum of the series. With one out and the bases loaded, manager Matt Beagle noted “This is a big at bat right here” as Edwin Encarnacion approached the plate. Encarnacion responded with a grand slam to give the Ungulates a 4-2 lead. Xander Bogaerts followed with a solo shot to make it 5-2. Philadelphia loaded the bases themselves in the bottom of the seventh but Matt Bowman was able to escape with just an Adrian Beltre sacrifice fly. The Whiz Kids again rallied in the bottom of the 8th but a 1b(X) to Encarnacion provided a big double play to get out of the inning. Encarnacion doubled in another run in the top of the ninth while Addison Russell homered to lead off the bottom of the stanza, but Arrickdale had the 6-4 win and the momentum.
Game 4: Johnny Cueto vs Miguel Gonzalez. With Kershaw looming in Game 5, this game also seemed pivotal. Well, a 9-run second inning by Philadelphia eliminated any drama as they went on to a 12-1 win. The Whiz Kids pounded 5 consecutive singles, then a walk, sac fly, single, hit by pitch, then a 3-run homer by Max Kepler and the rout was on. The hit batsman cost Philadelphia Gary Sanchez for Game 5, though, so Jordan noted it was a Pyrrhic victory. Jose Altuve and Cameron Maybin each had 3 hits for the Whiz Kids. Miguel Gonzalez only allowed 5 hits and one earned run in a complete game effort. After game Matt Beagle noted “Just employing the rope-a-dope. Worked for Ali…”
Game 5: Rick Porcello vs Clayton Kershaw. Pivotal Game 5 saw Martin Maldonado catching Kershaw as Jordan was unable to exploit his home park with Sanchez injured against Porcello’s three diamond shots. It was a pitching duel as expected with the real life Cy Young Award winner vs the game’s best starting pitcher card. After losing starting rookie phenom Jose Peraza in the third inning due to injury, the Ungulates Hunter Pence smashed a solo homer in the fourth for an early lead. In the bottom of the fifth, Jose Altuve doubled home Addison Russell to tie the game. The next inning, much maligned Matt Kemp finally contributed with a towering drive to regain the lead for Arrickdale. In a pitcher’s duel, there was nothing else much to say as Porcello held the Whiz Kids to one run and Kenley Jansen came in for a four out save. Altuve had three of Philadelphia’s five hits and had six hits in last seven at-bats.
Game 6: Jake Odorizzi vs Cole Hamels. Returning home, the Ungulates were drooling to pummel Odorizzi after not getting to him much in Game 2. But it was the Whiz Kids taking the lead first as they had in the first four games behind a Rene Rivera double and singles by scorching hot Jose Altuve and Carlos Beltran for a 2-0 advantage. Chris Young made it a 3-0 lead the next inning with a solo dinger. Meanwhile Arrickdale could not solve Odorizzi as he allowed only 3 hits and no walks over the first five frames. In the top of the sixth, however, it was the sole lefty Brian McCann who mashed a homer to break the seal. Jordan Smith stared at eight straight right handers against Odorizzi’s six diamond shots and 5.1% straight homers, so he correctly brought in hard righty Pedro Strop. Edwin Encarnacion greeted him with another solo homer to make it a one run game, 3-2. Strop settled down and Kyle Ryan stepped in as they combined for three shutout innings. Meanwhile a rested Ungulate bullpen played matchup ball before Kenley Jansen entered the game. In the bottom of the ninth with a one run lead, closer Kelvin Herrera came in to secure the game for Philadelphia. Regular season stalwart and post season disappointment Evan Longoria greeted him with a towering shot and we had a whole new ball game. Herrera scattered a pair of singles but enticed John Jay (who gains ten hits in the clutch) to fly out to right field and send the game into extra innings. Kenley Jansen hurled 2.2 dominant innings allowing only a hit. Matt Beagle pulled him so he wasn’t tired If a game seven was needed.
Meanwhile Arrickdale kept threatened when Edwin Encarnacion’s apparent home run was just a double and Herrera fanned Hunter Pence to keep the game alive. Aroldis Chapman was the last eligible Ungulate hurler and his past starter experience came in handy. In the top of the eleventh Cameron Maybin singled, then stole second and Bobby Wilson’s throw went into the outfield. With no outs, Chapman struck out Maldonado. Matt Beagle intentionally walked Jose Altuve (3-5 in this game, 9 for last 12) while Aroldis whiffed Matt Carpenter and Adrian Beltre to get out of the jam. In the top of the twelfth Addison Russell doubled with two outs but Chapman fanned Gary Sanchez to end the inning. The next inning Martin Maldonado hit a two out double so Beagle walked Altuve again as Chapman induced a Matt Carpenter to fly out to center. In the bottom of the fourteenth, after 4.1 shutout innings from Chapman, Koji Uehara hit Brandon Phillips with one out. John Jay singled. That brought up to the plate World Series MVP Edwin Encarnacion who had driven in 7 runs in this series. He ripped a double to score Phillips and give the Arrickdale Ungulates their first championship in eleven years. The Arrickdale bullpen hurled 8.1 scoreless innings in the finale.
Encarnacion only hit .280 but he drove in 8 runs and scored 7 more from an unconventional spot leading off the order. The Ungulate bullpen gave up only 2 runs in 13.2 innings for a 1.32 ERA with 22 strikeouts. For Philadelphia, Jose Altuve was a force, going 13-25 for a .520 average with 5 RBI. It’s hard to discuss team stats as Game 4 skewed them tremendously, but the series was pretty even as each team hit 8 homers.
This was a particularly gratifying win for me. The only bad part was that it came over Jordan who was as good as anyone to play with, had a great season, and more to come. It’s been 11 long years and many of you may recall how many playoff upsets I have suffered as well as a streak of 4 out of 5 years in the World Series and losing it (still will never forget losing to Bob on Jeff Reed’s HR 1-17 when I drew an 18 and to Wayne Snider on a Brian Harper throwing error when Wayne attempted to steal 3rd with 2 outs).
With rebuilding looming, I knew it would be my last chance for several years. And while I have had great regular season teams, the core of Evan Longoria (the centerpiece of my massive rebuild ten years ago), Adam Jones, Justin Upton, Edwin Encarnacion, Hunter Pence, Justin Verlander, Cole Hamels, Kenley Jansen, and Aroldis Chapman had never won it all. I just wish Troy Tulowitzki would have been here. He was here in spirit with Wil Myers and Jose Peraza (drafted with the pick received for Tulo). I remember the key draft, I think it was the same year, when I drafted Tulo early in the third, Adam Jones in the fifth, and Carlos Gomez in the 6th or 7th. (see WHAT A GAME! for the boxscore of this incredible game)
With a championship comes the contract demands so many of these players will be forever gone through the trade market in the 2018 season. But we will never forget 2017 when the Arrickdale Ungulates hoisted the Mac trophy after years of playoff futility.
|Managers may trade draft picks for the next free agent draft only. As soon as the free agent draft begins, picks for the subsequent draft may be traded. A manager may trade as many of his draft picks as he wishes, but must have at least six draft picks at all times, two of which must be in the fourth round or earlier.|
Bombers trade Hernan Perez to Mitts for Brad Brach + Sandy Leon
Rogues trade Rogues #1 and Jared Eickhoff to Comets for Sean Doolittle
Sluggers trade Travis Shaw + Sluggers #2 to the Bombers for Lance McCullers + Bombers #1 + Bombers #2
Cubs send Cubs #5 to Huskers for John Lackey
Titans trade Drew Pomeranz and Titans #4 to the Huskers for the Huskers #1
Mitts trade Austin Jackson + Mitts #7 to the Huskers for Carlos Gomez
DRAFT DAY DEALS
Ponies trade 2018 #1, Trea Turner, Gregory Polanco, Tyler Skaggs, Stephen Matz and picks 144 and 159 to the Ungulates for Justin Verlander, Cole Hamels, Adam Jones, Matt Bowman and pick 80.
Ungulates trade Brandon Phillips to Rogues for Rogues 2018 #4
Mitts trade Michael Brantley to Ungulates for Jon Jay
Rogues trade Orlando Arcia and Pick #18 to the Comets for Pick #1
Revival trades Jose Abreu and pick #136 to Huskers for Michael Conforto and pick #98
Crabs trade Mike A Taylor + Miguel Montero to Huskers for Huskers#2 in 2018 + Robinson Chirinos
Whiz Kids trade pick 97 + Whiz Kids 2018 #1 to Titans for Dexter Fowler and Jake Marisnick.
Mitts trade Jake McGee + pick 105 to Crabs for Huskers #2 in 2018
Mavs trade pick #113 to Ungulates for Ungulates 2018 #6
Mavs trade pick #133 to the Sluggers for Sluggers 2018 #7
Titans trade Craig Kimbrel and the Jacks #6 for the Canes #1, Huskers #3 and Dexter Fowler
Revival trades Revival #1 to Titans for Lance Lynn
A's trade Logan Morrison, Mikie Mahtook and A's #7 to Bombers for Josh Harrison, Michael Pineda and Mitts #5
Crabs trade Crabs #1 to Blackjacks for Michael A Taylor + Blackjacks #2
With too many players worth holding onto, the Comets have a few players available for draft picks. Several have no card or poor cards for 2018, but have potential comeback years or futures. Among those available, I think the players below might be the most attractive and can trade them, though I hate to give up any of them. Feel free to ask about others. Comets are hoping to return to the .500 mark in 2018, but lack the pitching depth for a playoff run.
Roberto Perez, C - great defensive b/u catcher, 217 ABs, good power vs. lefties.
Adeiny Hechavarria, SS - nice SS for defense, 330 ABs and no offense other than a few homers.
Brandon Guyer, OF - injury year, but projected lf/rf-2, 165 ABs, good on-base for PHing versus lefties.
Travis Jankowski, OF - injury year, cannot be active, had 30 steals for Padres in 2016 and was rated of-2.
The Sluggers have available Ketel Marte, Jorge Polanco, Ichiro Suzuki, Erick Aybar and Nick Ahmed. Looking for pitching help, OFer who hits RHP, draft picks and young players.
My recent deal has left me with some excess while needing a few things.
Available - Pitchers - Adam Conley, Jeremy Hellickson, Derek Holland
Hitters - Jefry Marte, Hanley Ramirez, Ian Desmond, Ryan Rua
Edwin Encarnacion, Lucas Duda, Brian McCann, Nori Aoki, Justin Upton, Michael Brantley, Matt Kemp. Not looking to trade but potentially available with an incredible offer....Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, Xander Bogaerts, Trea Turner. Looking for picks next year, youth, rebound candidates.
Whiz Kids have potential platoon/backup catcher available, either Rene Rivera or Martin Maldonado. Looking for a draft pick back. We could also be in the market for a corner OF who hits lefties, could trade back ABs to cover through Jorge Bonifacio or Chris Young.
A.Pujols, R. Nolasco, C. Richard, J. Motte, J.J. Hardy are all available for mid to late round picks.
The following Rogues are available for trade:
Starting Pitchers: Jon Lester, Homer Bailey
Batters: Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo, Yasmani Tomas, Alex Presley, Adonis Garcia
Available: RH closer Jim Johnson
Also Tyler Clippard who despite a high ERA has a card (according to Lamanna) with 10 hits + 15 walks vs LHB, 5 hits + 16 walks vs RHB
|BOXSCORE: 2017 Philadelphia Whiz Kids At 2017 Arrickdale Ungulates 11/3/2017|
Whiz Kids AB R H RBI AVG Ungulates AB R H RBI AVG
J.Altuve 2B 5 0 3 1 .391 E.Encarnacion DH 7 1 3 2 .260
M.Carpenter 1B 6 0 0 0 .133 X.Bogaerts SS 6 0 0 0 .221
A.Beltre 3B 7 0 0 0 .200 E.Longoria 3B 6 1 4 1 .222
C.Beltran RF 3 0 1 1 .381 H.Pence RF 6 0 0 0 .222
A-M.Kepler RF 4 0 0 0 .188 A.Jones CF 6 0 1 0 .268
A.Russell SS 7 0 2 0 .164 W.Myers 1B 6 0 1 0 .259
G.Sanchez DH 6 0 0 0 .268 B.Phillips 2B 5 0 1 0 .231
C.Maybin CF 6 0 2 0 .340 I-R.Porcello PR 0 1 0 0 ----
C.Young LF 5 2 2 1 .265 M.Kemp LF 2 0 1 0 .182
R.Rivera C 3 1 1 0 .200 B-N.Aoki PH 0 0 0 0 .212
G-J.Gyorko PH 1 0 0 0 .111 C-A.Rosales PH 1 0 0 0 .200
H-M.Maldonado C 2 0 1 0 .182 D-J.Jay LF 3 0 1 0 .250
B.McCann C 3 1 2 1 .255
E-J.Cueto PR 0 0 0 0 .000
F-B.Wilson C 1 0 0 0 .300
-- -- -- --- -- -- -- ---
Totals 55 3 12 3 Totals 52 4 14 4
A-Subbed Defensively (RF) For Beltran In 6th Inning
B-Pinch Hit For Kemp In 7th Inning
C-Pinch Hit For Aoki In 7th Inning
D-Subbed Defensively (LF) For Rosales In 8th Inning
E-Pinch Ran For McCann In 8th Inning
F-Subbed Defensively (C ) For Cueto In 9th Inning
G-Pinch Hit For Rivera In 9th Inning
H-Subbed Defensively (C ) For Gyorko In 9th Inning
I-Pinch Ran For Phillips In 14th Inning
INJURY: Brandon Phillips INJURED (for 0 more games) in 14th inning
Whiz Kids....... 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 3 12 1
Ungulates....... 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 - 4 14 2
Whiz Kids (10-6) IP H R ER BB SO HR PC ERA SCORESHEET
J.Odorizzi 5 4 1 1 0 1 1 67 3.80 A1 B9
P.Strop HOLD(2nd) 1 2/3 2 1 1 0 3 1 29 4.50 C1 C7
K.Ryan HOLD(2nd) 1 1/3 1 0 0 0 0 0 13 0.00 C8 D2
K.Herrera BS(1st) 2 5 1 1 0 4 1 40 0.90 D3 E4
K.Barracloug 3 0 0 0 1 4 0 42 5.14 E5 F5
K.Uehara LOSS(0-1) 0 2/3 1 1 1 0 1 0 21 2.70 F6 F9
B.Kintzler 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 1.23 G1
Totals 13 2/3 14 4 4 1 13 3
Ungulates (12-7) IP H R ER BB SO HR PC ERA SCORESHEET
C.Hamels 5 2/3 5 3 3 2 7 1 101 3.42 A1 C7
M.Bowman 0 1/3 1 0 0 0 1 0 6 0.73 C8 C9
J.Diekman 0 1/3 1 0 0 0 0 0 8 7.71 D1 D2
J.Barrett 0 1/3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3.00 D3 D3
A.Liberatore 0 1/3 1 0 0 0 1 0 10 5.40 D4 D5
K.Jansen 2 2/3 1 0 0 0 4 0 32 1.29 D6 E5
A.Chapman WIN(1-1) 4 1/3 3 0 0 2 7 0 64 3.00 E6
Totals 14 12 3 3 4 20 1
ATTENDANCE- 48,444 DATE- Friday, November 3rd 2017 TIME- Night
UMPIRES- Larry Young, Rob Drake, Bill Miller, Jerry Meals
LEFT ON BASE- Whiz Kids:14 Ungulates: 9
DOUBLE PLAYS- Whiz Kids: 2 Ungulates: 0
ERRORS- J.Altuve, B.Wilson, C.Hamels
DOUBLES- J.Altuve(6th), A.Russell(3rd), C.Young(1st), R.Rivera(3rd),
HOME RUNS- C.Young(4th), E.Encarnacion(5th), E.Longoria(5th), B.McCann(2nd)
RBIs- J.Altuve(10th), C.Beltran(14th), C.Young(6th), E.Encarnacion-2(18th),
STOLEN BASES- C.Maybin(3rd)
CAUGHT STEALING- H.Pence
SACRIFICE HITS- B.Wilson
WALKS- J.Altuve-2, M.Carpenter, C.Young, B.Wilson
HIT BY PITCH- B.Phillips
STRIKE OUTS- M.Carpenter-2, A.Beltre-2, M.Kepler-2, A.Russell-2, G.Sanchez-6,
C.Maybin-2, C.Young, R.Rivera, J.Gyorko, M.Maldonado, E.Longoria,
H.Pence-3, A.Jones, W.Myers-5, B.Phillips-2, B.Wilson
GIDP- E.Encarnacion, X.Bogaerts
2-out RBI- C.Beltran, C.Young, E.Encarnacion
RLISP 2-out- C.Beltran, A.Russell, M.Kemp, R.Rivera-2, M.Kepler, A.Beltre,
J.Jay-2, H.Pence, M.Carpenter-2, G.Sanchez
TEAM RISP- Whiz Kids: 2 for 15 Ungulates: 2 for 6
WEB GEMS- Top 1st: Brandon Phillips robbed Adrian Beltre of a base hit.
Edwin Encarnacion slammed a homerun and had 2 RBI as the Arrickdale Ungulates
outscored the Philadelphia Whiz Kids in 14 innings 4 to 3.
The score was tied at 3 after nine. Arrickdale came out the victor in the
14th inning. After an out was recorded, Brandon Phillips was hit by a pitch.
Jon Jay followed next and he slapped a single. Bobby Wilson then laid down
a sacrifice bunt. Encarnacion came up and he banged out a single resulting
in an exciting win for Arrickdale and a wild post-game celebration by the
home town fans. Arrickdale had 14 hits for the night.
Aroldis Chapman(1-1) got the win allowing no runs in 4 and 1/3 innings. Koji
Uehara(0-1) ended up with the loss in relief. He allowed 1 hit and no walks
in 2/3 of an inning.
COMPARING 2018 OFFENSE TO THE 2017 ONE
It would appear from the table below that the Mitts' offense against lefties in the 2018 season will be exactly as potent as it was in 2017 - not really more or less.
The lineup vs righties will be a bit better than it was and, of course, one normally faces RH'd starting pitchers about 3/4 of the time.
If the Mitts were to obtain a better platoonmate for Markakis then the newly acquired Hernan Perez could take over the short half of the 2B platoon. This would increase the strength of that aspect of the lineup. Similarly if we were to come up with a big stick versus lefties we could hold our nose and play Murphy at 2B which also would make the lineup better offensively against southpaws.
GETTING THE JUSTIN TURNER VIBE FROM T.J. RIVERA
I've often stated that some of my scouting incorporates similarities. I'll see a guy and he'll remind me of someone else and if I really liked that someone else then this guy gets extra brownie points in the scouting. And, of course, the same goes for if I didn't like the comparison guy then it's demerits all around.
I see a good bit of Justin Turner in TJ Rivera. Sure there are the obvious things like both being righthanded utility guys who did their first major league stints with the New York Mets.
Late in the November 2013 draft the Mitts needed a utility player to cover most of the infield. Turner had had a reasonable season so in round 6 (pick 113 actually) we selected Justin Turner. And there was no way in the world that we ever thought he'd transform himself into the player he has since he left Queens.
Here are the stats he had during that 2013 season. Notice that it was his age 28 season.
He was not considered a good defender back than and he got all infield 4s that year or perhaps squeezed out a 3 at 3B.
In the 8th round of our recent CBL draft I was just looking for the best player or prospect I could find. There wasn't a crying need for a utility player but since I'd strongly considered TJ Rivera with one of our three 7th round picks he was the logical guy when he was still on the board in round 8.
Check out his stats for his age 28 season.
No shortstop rating here and like with Turner he's likely a disaster in leftfield. But those seasons just seem to have a lot in common. And for the second year in a row TJ hit righties much better than he hit lefties.
The Mets have squishy mess at 2B and 3B. TJ will be in the mix with Asdrubal Cabrera, Wilmer Flores, Matt Reynolds, Phillips Evans, Gavin Cecchini and (don't laugh) David Wright. For my money Reynolds and Cecchini are not major league players. Flores is mostly a lefty killer and defensively can only hold his own at 1B. Wright's not a good bet for 100 ABs. They are writing that 'Drubal is most likely going to be at 3B which makes me think that TJ could get 200 or more ABs this coming season at 2B where he is bad defensively but likely better than Daniel Murphy is or was.
Putting the barrel of the bat on the ball consistently is pretty much an unteachable skill. TJ has that. Now if he can develop some selectivity and then start to elevate his swing plane there is the potential for him to be a very good major league hitter. No, I don't think he'll ever become the next Justin Turner who just put up a 5.7 WAR (according to Baseball Reference) but it wouldn't shock me to see him put up a 3.5 to 4.0 WAR in the next year or two. Those are awfully good for middle infielders.
From Mitts Trades
11/20/17 Bombers trade Hernan Perez to Mitts for Brad Brach + Sandy Leon
This add came out quite a bit pricier than we'd expected. When Mitch advertised Hernan's availability it became clear that this player could do multiple things if we could get him onto the Mitts. The Leon part of the deal was not too hard since Sandy, at best, was headed back to our minors and might have ended up cut before or after the waiver draft. He does represent a modest upgrade at backup catcher for the Bombers so I could see where they could make use of him. Mitch was hoping to perhaps nab Felipe Rivero but I just couldn't see moving our best RP even though in Brach we've given up our #2. Here's how I see Perez fitting in (1) his SS rating will allow us to move Marcus Semien to the minors since he was the only other SS rated player we had other than Bregman. If Sems retains his ss-3 (as predicted by SOMWORLD) we might even consider putting him up for trade in mid December (2) If Perez gets a 2B-3 while both Lowrie and Neil Walker get 2B-4 then we likely platoon Hernan with Lowrie freeing us to perhaps trade Walker and his power card to someone in need of help at 2B or 3B or 1B. (3) If Perez gets a 2B-4 but is OK in the OF then he can platoon with Markakis even if it means forcing Duvall from LF to RF. So the player really fits our needs and depending on how the ranges come out it sets the table to possibly do other stuff later on.
MINOR CONSIDERATIONS AND OTHER STUFF
Got to thinking about what the Mitts' minors will look like and have started thinking in terms of three tiers.
The top tier consists of the sure things and there really are only two guys there. One is prospect Brett Phillips and the other is whichever starting pitcher of the six we'll be using who won't be active that block. Felix Hernandez will likely be the guy for about half the season.
The next tier consists of the comeback candidates. One or more of these guys might not make the minors but if cut-down day were at hand right now then they'd have slots. Kevin Plawecki, Matt Duffy, and Blake Swihart are in this category.
The last tier could be considered the bubble guys who are in competition with the other bubble guys but also with the pool of people who will be available in the waiver draft. Having looked at those not drafted I'd say the bubble guys don't have much competition there although it's possible someone else's cut might be better than our bubble guys.
This last tier consists of Tyler Clippard, Jose Torres, TJ Rivera, Wei Chen, Jim Johnson, Scott Kazmir, and Sandy Leon.
Something I've noticed is that in year's past we all had plenty of guys available to spank LH'd starting pitchers. Now everyone seems to be seeking help against lefties. The Mitts could certainly use help vs lefties at 2B and in one of the OF slots. Looking at the ads in Tradewinds there are several other teams seeking that kind of help.
A fascinating thing to watch is when utility players develop into one position guys while long-time regulars branch out to other positions. Look at how Justin Turner who we drafted in part because he played all four infield positions has become strictly a 3Bman. Meanwhile Jed Lowrie and Neil Walker have changed roles. Lowrie now is a 2Bman only which is what Walker was for years. Walker now will be rated at 2B, 3B, and 1B. In fact the Mitts might end up trading Walker to a team that needs help at the hot corner versus righties. And there are a few teams that so qualify.
TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF BRETT PHILLIPS' MINOR LEAGUE CAREER
Matt and I exchanged a few emails on Friday about our respective 6th round outfield prospects. He selected Austin Hays with the 113th pick of the draft while the Mitts tabbed Brett Phillips with the 118th pick. We've both made it clear that we each like both prospects a whole lot.
At one point Matt wrote: " I liked Brett Phillips, too, but he wasn't there for me in the 6th thanks to you while Hays was."
That , of course, was not the case because he tabbed Hayes before I had a chance to take Phillips. But whatever....
One of the tricky aspects of evaluating players is making sense of their minor league numbers especially since we all know how different the hitting and pitching environments can be. Let's look at Phillips's last three minor league seasons. I am only showing the places where he had 200 or more ABs.
At first glance one would likely say the player was awesome in high A, moved up to double-A he didn't do well at all, but then moved to the highest classification he started kicking butt again. But as you'll see he actually did not have the dramatic swing you would have expected.
In 2015 Phillips' awesome OPS was not the highest on his team. AJ Reed had an OPS of 1088 for the team. More interesting is the fact that the Lancaster team had an OPS of 851!!! Phillips' OPS was 13.6% better than the team OPS.
So up he goes to double-A and puts up that paltry .229 BA and 729 OPS. But Biloxi must be stifling to hitters because as bad as Phillips seemed to do he again was second best on his team. Garrett Cooper put up a 768 OPS to lead that team. And here the team OPS was a lowly 642. And how did Brett Phillips compare to his team? Exactly 13.6% better than his team which is the exact amount he was better than the previous year's A+ team.
In 2017 he went to a known hitters' haven in Colorado Springs. As good as his OPS was it was only third on the team. Garrett Cooper again had him beat with a 1080 OPS and Lewis Brinson put up a 962 OPS. The team as a whole ran an 817 OPS so here Phillips bested that by 16.6%.
My point is that what looks like a roller coaster ride the last three years wasn't really one.
How the Hays and Phillips careers will go is a story still to be written but I suspect both players will fare quite well.
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