The Instructional League is underway, so if someone wants to go to Florida and give me play-by-play, that would be great. Thanks.
Prospect Spotlight: Mark Leiter Jr., RHP
I asked and so I must follow through! @MrMonroe88 asked for Leiter, and Leiter we must deliver.
Last week, I talked about "prospect" and "non-prospect," and Leiter is a good example of a player toeing the line. Leiter came back from injury to put up a good year in Reading. At his best, he runs his fastball up to 91-92, and then backs it up with a large number of secondary pitches. His changeup is pretty good, but nothing else really stands out. As a starting pitcher, his best case is that it is 2015 and you are the Phillies and you will take any pitcher with an attached arm. That is a "non-prospect."
That said, he really is a solid org guy, much like Anthony Vasquez. He stabilizes your rotation and gives you a decent chance to win. But what is interesting about pitchers is what might happen if you shorten them up. If Leiter can throw strikes and bump his velocity up a tiny bit more while simplifying his arsenal, maybe there is an up-and-down reliever in there.
Not a lot of deep questions this week, so I decided to clear out the queue from past weeks in more of a lightning round setting.
@Matt_Winkelman does the improvement of Freddy Galvis mean that JP Crawford will get more time in AAA next year?— glenn ziegler (@gzig21) September 22, 2016
Absolutely. I don't know if they would push Crawford anyway, but Galvis being a competent Major League shortstop means they can take their time and make sure that Crawford is ready.
@Matt_Winkelman Ian Desmond a real possibility? If so, is Altherr the odd man out and what's it mean for Williams?— TJS (@tjsphillies) September 22, 2016
I think so; do I have any confidence they sign him? No. They need an outfield bat because they need a bat, and there are not a lot of other spots to put one. In that case, it could be Desmond. It could be Saunders, or Prado, or Bautista, or Reddick. A signing like that probably pushes Altherr to the bench in a part-time role, which, until he can prove that 2015 was the real thing, is where he likely should be. If Williams hits and they need a spot, they can make a spot. Altherr, Quinn, Williams and even Herrera can play all three outfield positions, which gives them a lot of flexibility.
@Matt_Winkelman Cozens at 1b in a platoon make sense long term ?— Scott B (@wildcatamounts) September 22, 2016
I am not the biggest fan of Cozens's swing and approach, but there is no reason to move him to first base any time soon. For now, he profiles as the strong side of a RF or LF platoon. If he keeps hitting and they need to move him to first base in a few years, it means things went very right.
@Matt_Winkelman who is the highest ranked prospect on your list that you'd be comfortable trading away this winter?— A.F.H. (@fazzyh) September 22, 2016
I don't know how I am going to rank the Phillies prospects this offseason, so I am going to just address the whole top group.
I would not feel comfortable trading Crawford or Alfaro unless it was for a young superstar with a ton of team control, but that is not going to happen. I would not trade Nick Williams because his value is so down. Same with Cornelius Randolph. I think Mickey Moniak and Sixto Sanchez have a chance to build their value, so now would be selling low. That leaves two prominent players that I am willing to trade in Franklyn Kilome and Roman Quinn. I like both a lot. There is so much that can go wrong for Kilome that, if someone is willing to pay top dollar, it might not be terrible to cash in. Quinn is also very good, but with the other players on the team who can play center field, it wouldn't kill me if he was involved in a trade that shored up another position on the roster. I wouldn't be shopping anyone actively though.
@Matt_Winkelman How much are contenders kicking themselves for not trading for Hellickson?— Jordan Voron (@VoronJordan) September 22, 2016
They are, that much I'll admit (though I'm watching him get shelled by the Mets as I write this). Since the deadline, for example, Andrew Cashner has pitched in 10 games, and in those he has pitched 43.2 innings with 52 hits, 25 walks, 36 strikeouts, and a 6.18 ERA. Hellickson, in that same time frame, has 9 starts, 55.2 innings, 52 hits, 14 walks, 42 strikeouts, and a 3.40 ERA. The Marlins are five games out, so maybe it wouldn't have mattered, but their insistence on getting two pitchers back in a deal cost themselves a good pitcher.
Joely Rodriguez has the stuff to be a long-term piece in the Major League bullpen. His stuff has ticked up enough that he could be a very good LOOGY or a nice semi-high leverage reliever that can get some righties out, too. I guess the other guy is probably Logan Moore. Good defensive catchers can have decent careers if they can get that reputation in the Majors.
@Matt_Winkelman Who is the starting 8 for Lehigh Valley in 2017? I've got Alfaro, Hoskins, Valentin, Crawford, 3B?, Cozens, Quinn, Williams— Dan M (@dannmaal) September 16, 2016
3B: Mora or FA
Whether that squad could out-hit this year's Major League regulars is a mental exercise for you.