In the past week, the Phillies signed a new starting outfielder...and other things happened. So let’s just get into the mailbag.
Once again no prospect spotlight because I wrote 50 prospect reports over the past two weeks. The spotlight will be back next week.
The big difference is projection. Valentin is what he is. He might be a better fielder than Kingery at second base, but likely not by much. Valentin can play multiple positions, but that is only an asset when talking floor, not ceiling. They likely have similar power (poor), but Kingery is going to drive more doubles. Valentin has the better approach, but that is something that Kingery has flashed and can grow into. Kingery has the better hit tool and more room for hit tool growth, and then we get to speed, where Kingery is a plus-plus runner who could steal 30-plus bases a year; Valentin is a below-average runner who won’t be much of a factor on the bases.
In the end, Valentin’s final projection is a guy who hits, like, 5-8 home runs a year, plays good defense, and draws some walks but likely with an average more in the .260 range. Kingery could be a guy who hits those same number of homers, same good defense, steals 30 bases a year, and probably hits .280. One of those guys is a starter at second base, the other is not.
I am not a doctor so I cannot draw a direct connection. What we do know is that for a guy who has thrown as much as Appel (he is 25) his elbow was probably not the cleanest. The time off and the surgery should help some, but they weren’t the root cause of his problems. He has had struggles since the Astros messed with his delivery after drafting him.
Yes. I expect Tocci to be the everyday center fielder for Reading. Tocci can really hit, but he is still physically underdeveloped, which of course is what has been written about him for six years now. He won’t turn 22 until August so he still has time. I think his glove and hit tool get him a cup of coffee as bench player, but it will take him adding muscle to have any lasting role in the Majors.
I don’t think there is any market for Morgan or Asher, who are up-and-down relievers for me. Maybe you get a low-A reliever or an org guy in return. Ben Lively is slightly different because there are some who believe he is a back-end starter. If I go by where I had Lively ranked, we are looking at a return like an A-ball lottery ticket in the vein of Pujols or Grullon, or something further away (though I bet most teams aren’t going to part with a young Latin American player just because they rank higher on a list). More likely, you get a minor league reliever with more upside in the bullpen than Lively, say a Victor Arano or Edubray Ramos type. If you think Lively is a Major League starter, you hold onto him until he proves that and then flip him for something that is closer to the Dan Straily deal that just happened with the Marlins.
@Matt_Winkelman what top 30 prospects do you see passing thru Reading this year?— Tyler Smith (@TylerSmithEtown) January 19, 2017
After having a near historically great team in 2016, Reading is going to take a step back in 2017. That is probably fine, because they are still going to have a ton of talent come through Baseballtown this year anyway.
So, the players I could see starting there are 2B Scott Kingery (#11), RHP Ricardo Pinto (#21), LHP Elniery Garcia (#22), CF Carlos Tocci (#25), RHP Thomas Eshelman (#27), and LF Andrew Pullin (#28). As for players who could get promoted through if they perform well, there is a chance RHP Franklyn Kilome (#5), RHP Alberto Tirado (#23), and RHP Drew Anderson (#26) make an appearance. It is not impossible that OF Cornelius Randolph (#8) and RHP Seranthony Dominguez (#24) make an appearance, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Outside of the Top 30, these Top 50 prospects could possibly make an appearance at some point: RHP Victor Arano (#31), OF Jose Pujols (#35), SS Malquin Canelo (#36), LHP Cole Irvin (#37), RHP Tyler Viza (#42), OF Jiandido Tromp (#47), RHP Jose Taveras (#48), and RHP Grant Dyer (#50). Reading’s pitching is going to be fairly strong, but they definitely will take a hit in the field.
I think Andres Blanco and Aaron Altherr are indeed locks, and I think at this point Knapp is 90% to make the team. The 40-man roster works better if Jesmuel Valentin makes the team, though he is redundant with Blanco and Kendrick present. Brock Stassi as a LH bat makes sense since Saunders is an everyday OF. It probably is Nava in the last spot, but I would like to see Goeddel or Cam Perkins take that spot from him.
@Matt_Winkelman will the Phils start to flex their $ during the intl signing period and go over the spending limits? Who r targets?— Jeff Levecchia (@j2hole) January 19, 2017
Nope. This era is dead. With the new CBA starting this July 2, there is no soft punishment (tax, future bonus caps) for going over your pool. MLB has promised to bring down the hammer, and given that the last time they did that they decided to void all of the Red Sox signings for a year and banned them for another year, it is not going to go well if you break the rules.
If the Phillies go over now, they carry the penalty into the next two years (max bonus of $300,000) and there just aren’t players worth doing it for. There is one Cuban teenager left who may get cleared in time, and while he might be worth it, it is everyone’s last chance to spend so his price is likely to be extreme. Going forward I expect the Phillies to spend to their limit every year much like this year and sign close to 40 guys a year and try and keep finding Sixto Sanchezes, Adonis Medinas, and Franklyn Kilomes.
I covered this in mailbag #15, so I will let you take a look there.
@Matt_Winkelman also mailbag question: where does 90% of best outcome in 5 years Crawford rank among ML SS...where does 90% Alfaro rank at C— Thinks he can dance (@comedicCPA) January 20, 2017
So 90% Crawford is a Gold Glove, one of the best defensive shortstops in the game defender. At the plate he probably draws walks at an elite rate, hits .300+, with 20+ home runs. So that is like maybe a slightly worse defensive Francisco Lindor with just below Corey Seager’s 2016 offense. That is probably the best shortstop in the game and an MVP candidate.
Alfaro is never going to walk at a high rate even at 90%, so even at his best he is not going to be Buster Posey. He gets Ivan Rodriguez comps, but that is still too rich. Hall of Famer and all that. But 25-30 home runs, big-time arm, good defender, solid average, and ok on-base...I guess that is something close to vintage Brian McCann. So a top-3 catcher in baseball.
On my rankings the prospects were Pivetta, Appel, and then Pinto. I would take Thompson and Eflin over Pivetta, in that order. Biddle pre-concussion (and other issues) was a back-end Top-100 prospect. I don’t think Eflin would make a Top 100 if eligible, so that means I would slot Biddle in between Thompson and Eflin with the other 3 trailing them.