You didn’t ask for it, but you’re getting it anyway. It’s mailbag time.
Is it outrageous to suggest that Garrett Stubbs play at least 50% of the time until Bryce gets back, with JT at 1B or DH? Keep JT fresh without losing that much because it’s not like Clemens, Cave, or Harrison is tearing the cover off the ball.— NotBlauser (@FlipsToLemke) April 17, 2023
This is an interesting question, but one that is pretty easily answered. The Phillies have a better chance at winning baseball games with Realmuto behind the plate than with him donning a first baseman’s glove, so that is where they should give him the bulk of his playing time.
Stubbs is a great guy, solid in his role as backup catcher. But as you suggest the other three aren’t tearing the cover off the ball....neither is Garrett. He has a much, much smaller sample size than either of the other three, but he’s not hitting so well as to make this more than the conversation we’re having right here. Plus, you have to think of all the contingencies that would come into play.
- What if Stubbs gets hurt in the middle of the game?
- Why weaken a defensive position that has been raised in importance with the rise of the stolen base?
Granted, Harrison has heated up a bit since this question was submitted, so they’ll play the hot hand, but right now, that ain’t Stubbs.
When Ranger Suarez returns, is it a possibility that the Phillies use a 6-man rotation as opposed to putting Strahm back in the pen in an effort to maybe conserve Wheeler and Nola?— Explaining The Phillies (@ExplainingPhils) April 17, 2023
I see almost no way the team goes to a six-man rotation as it means fewer starts for guys like Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler, and more starts for guys like Bailey Falter and Matt Strahm. I know and recognize the animosity currently being shown to the top two arms, knowing they are simply not doing enough to help the team win baseball games right now. But over the course of the season, I’m much more confident in their ability to get better and dominate a lineup than I am Falter and Strahm’s ability to do the same. Right now, once Suarez does come back, having Strahm and/or Falter stretched out already will be a benefit as it is unlikely Suarez will be able to go that deep into games right away. Either of the two lefties can give length on any night, and there’s value in that. They’ll probably be used for occasional spot starts with pitchers feeling a little fatigued, but either Falter or Strahm is headed to the bullpen.
Who that should be? That’s for Rob Thomson and company to figure out.
Is jake caves that guy? His underlying stats would say he is despite his BA.— Nuke (@Tys_Tie) April 17, 2023
Have I missed something here? Is Jake Cave all of a sudden good and I didn’t hear about it? One can peruse the hallowed halls of Baseball Savant to get to the nitty-gritty of his season, but even still, what “underlying stats” are we talking about that suggest Cave is all of a sudden “That Guy”?
To see when Cave was really going pretty good, you have to go back to 2018 when he was with Minnesota. There, he got 309 plate appearances, putting up a respectable .265/.313/.473 line with the Twins. That year was his best of hitting the ball hard (14.5% barrel rate, 89.2 mph average exit velocity) and for power. Since then, it’s been a downward fall into mediocrity, and eventually, the acceptance of minor league deals. He’s been a solid part of the team so far, don’t get me wrong. His batting average isn’t the greatest anymore, but he’s re-emerging from this minor league odyssey to start putting up more respectable peripherals (12.5% barrel rate, 89.3 mph average exit velocity) that lend to the suggestion that he might become “That Guy”. But he’s still not a regular starter right now. His plate discipline numbers so far suggest that he’s not chasing as much while making more contact with pitches he does swing at, which is great, but I just don’t see anyone on the verge of any kind of a major breakout.
Competent bench bat that you don’t mind plugging into a lineup when injuries arise? I’ll take that any day of the week, a role Cave would likely excel in. But big time breakout guy? Not buying it.
Since the Phil's season hasn't made any sense, can they sign Didi to play first so he can get his 1000th hit? I'm thinking like a 5 game contract + big bonus for that hit then cut him.— Zach Piper (@zpiper18) April 17, 2023
We found Didi’s burner account....
Will Edmundo sosa be a starter in the national league all star game?— Kenny (@kharry2415) April 17, 2023
That’s NL MVP Edmundo Sosa to you, thank you very much. Put some respect on his name.
What is the level of concern on Seranthony right now— ♂️ (@BrysonStottFan) April 17, 2023
On a scale of 1-10, 1 being “not at all” and 10 being “I’ve lit myself on fire”, I’m right around a 4. It’s still very early for the relievers, them not having a big enough sample size to make any serious declarations about their seasons. The walks and hits allowed have been an issue, but the good news is that the stuff is relatively the same as what it was in 2022.
I think the biggest issue with Dominguez is where in the zone he is locating his pitches. The Dominguez we saw last year was one who stayed away from the middle of the zone with his pitches.
This year, it’s been much, much worse as far as where he is putting the ball.
You can see how much of the zone he is catching, particularly with his out pitch, the slider. It’s fine to miss once in a while. Everyone throws a cement mixer up there now and again. But one cannot live there as much lest he be hammered into the ground.
Relievers usually induce the most panic on a team, particularly because they are so prone to volatility. Dominguez is just like any other reliever where he’ll go through bouts of struggles at points. His struggles, though, look like they’re easily correctable and will go away with time. I wouldn’t worry too much about him.