Friday, March 31, 2017

Brock Stassi makes the team, Eickhoff gets creamed

Stassi had a monster Spring, if he didn't make this team, there should have been a Congressional investigation of the Phils

There is always good news and bad news in baseball. Brock Stassi got some good news yesterday afternoon, as he learned that he had made the team for 2017 heading to Cincinnati in just a couple of days. He earned it, his Spring Training was one that can only be dreamed about by some players. Stassi got emotional after he learned of the new status of his contract being picked up by the Phillies, it's great to see that there is still an element of baseball that can't be measured in a statistic, there is not a sabermetric stat out there that can measure that.

On the same day, the Phillies got clobbered in Spring Training. Jerad Eickhoff gave up 6 runs in less than an inning pitched as the Yankees beat up on him and the Phillies by a score of 14-1 yesterday. It was ugly.

The Yanks have not been messing around in Spring Training, they lead the Grapefruit League with a 24-8 record. We'll see if this continues in the regular season, but I think I'd rather see my team do well like they are rather than the way some teams are playing this Spring.

Looking at the highly paid free agent outfielders the Phillies picked up this past offseason as they are winding up Spring Training, Howie Kendrick is batting .230 and Saunders .236, like I said earlier in the blog here, I would have rather had Cody Asche and Aaron Altherr out there and they would be batting a least that much or more. We'll see what happens when the regular season starts, but it certainly looks as if these two acquisitions by the team could be duds.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

New Phillies Talk Podcast: 7 Days to the Phillies Opening Day chatting with Matt Veasey

Had a great time talking with my special guest, Matt Veasey, who has been writing about the Phillies and baseball for many years!

On this edition of Phillies Talk Podcast:

With only 7 days to go to the Opening Day of the 2017 baseball, it's so exciting to be talking about the Phillies team that we'll be seeing on the field this season.
I am talking with longtime and excellent baseball writer, Matt Veasey, on his writing about the Phillies and we're talking about the team this year. On the show we talk about the new players the Phillies added and the long term rebuild that the Phillies have been on for several years now.
Will we see Pete Rose on the Phillies Wall of Fame this year now that the Phils have permission to add him if they choose? We both agreed the time is 'now'.
The group of players that won the World Series with the Phillies have all gone from the team, now the team has a difficult position on whether or not the Phils will want to retire any of their numbers. We talk about this on the show as well.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hellickson as Phillies Opening Day starter again?

Another year for Jeremy Hellickson to go out there and show his worth for his next contract

A lot of how the Phillies have been making their choices in the past couple seasons tells you the direction the team is actually heading in. We've all heard the Phillies are in a continuous state of rebuilding. Looking at the results of the past several years from the team explains this very well. You usually have a few years of growing pains before a team gets better is the norm in a rebuild.

Jeremy Hellickson was named Opening Day starter for 2017, a role that he had last year with the team. Looking at the way the Phillies actually ended up keeping Hellickson for this season says a lot about what the team thinks of him and his future of the team.

Hellickson being named Opening Day starter may send a signal that the Phillies are confused as to their commitments to certain players and as to why. Hellickson is not a $17.2M per year pitcher according to the way he's been pitching. The Phillies had to offer him that though because they didn't want to see him simply walk away and the Phils get nothing, it forced the Phils to offer him a qualifying offer. Jeremy went out on the open market and failed to attract a better offer, he's not a pitcher that is very attractive at the price he was looking to get paid, he ran back to the Phils and snared the 1-yr deal.

Aaron Nola was touted to be the 'star' Phillies pitcher of the next several years, but he failed to impress the Phillies brass with his 2nd season on the big club and his 6-9 record to show for it. He still may develop into that pitcher that we heard he may become but he's not there now.

Vince Velasquez is a pitcher that the Phils have to be pleasantly surprised with. In his second start ever with the Phillies he posted up 16 K's, did very well the first half of the year then didn't finish up well, as the whole Phillies team didn't finish up well. He finished up last year 8-6 with a 4.12 ERA which isn't terrible.

Clay Buchholz is brand new to the Phillies this year, He had an off year with the Red Sox last year. He finished up 8-10 with a 4.78 ERA and was very inconsistent. In fact, Boston Red Sox fans advised the Phillies fans to watch which Buchholz shows up to pitch on any certain day for 2017. That was an unofficial fan's scouting report of him.

Jared Eickhoff finished last year with 11 wins, he tallied up 14 losses though with a 3.65 ERA during the season last year. So you couldn't necessarily hand the ball to him for Opening Day. Again a lot of those losses may not be all his fault, but the record speaks for itself at the end of the season.

Which leads us back to Hellickson, he's the same pitcher as he was last year for the Phillies. A pitcher of hope and the future and one that will have a great pay day for 2017. Why didn't the Phils commit to him for a couple years? No many numbers surfaced from either side with what the other was looking for. It's almost like an instant replay year for Hellickson in as much as if he has a very good year it can only help his case for free agency, he may even be a trade chip for the Phillies for 2017 if that happens and the Phils don't want to hold onto him again so long.

Interesting though the our Opening Day starter now for the second straight year isn't on board with this team as a pitcher of the future with the club, he's just the most likely candidate to get the ball for Opening Day though.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

How's Obubel doing in the World Baseball Classic? We'll see him tonight

Odubel and Team Venezuela take on Team USA tonight in San Diego

I didn't think that I would be watching as much of the World Baseball Classic that I have. Getting up early in the morning to watch a few minutes from Japan and Seoul in the first round, I started to get a bug to watch more. As the Classic has rolled on, and games have shifted to both Japan and now Miami and San Diego, I can turn on the TV or watch on just about any time of the day. It's a baseball lover's paradise now.

The big teams have been the undefeated Japan and an unlikely team powerhouse in Israel, in fact as I am writing this Japan just broke a nasty 6 inning tie with Israel in a very important game against the two teams and then took a 3-0 lead.

How's Odubel Herrera and the Venezuela team doing in the tourney? Team Venezuela just held on to make it further into the tournament with a win over the unexpected strong team of Italy in Jalisco, Mexico. Call me a little naive, but I never heard of Jalisco before this tournament. Jalisco is the state in Mexico where the major city (and capital of Jalisco) of Guadalajara is. An interesting note that was made by the broadcast team was that there was a very scant crowd on hand for the Venezuela vs. Italy game.

With the win, Venezuela traveled from Jalisco to San Diego tonight to take on team USA  so, if you haven't seen much of Odubel, you'll be able to see him tonight at 9 PM when these two teams square off in WBC near championship 2nd round action. The top two teams from the remaining brackets will square off for the semi-finals and then the championship in LA from March 20-22.

Odubel Herrera hasn't been doing too much on offense in the series so far, he is batting .100 in 10 ABs he has 1 hit. We'll be able to see him later at 9PM Eastern on MLB Network, by the way MLB Network has been free for the whole series so far on certain cable networks, so check it out, if you don't subscribe, it may be on for free for you.

Stella takes in easy on Philadelphia, Opening Day only 19 days away

Jeremy Hellickson has been rumored to be the Opening Day starter for the Phils, is he the ace of the staff though?

The weather is fine in Clearwater though it will be a high temp of a somewhat chilly 55 degrees down there today, Spring Training is chugging into it's final two weeks or so now with the calendar reaching March 15th.

Back at home in the tri-state area of Philadelphia, we had a brush with a blizzard, Winter Storm Stella was the name, and luckily, the immediate area of Philadelphia and NJ and Delaware seemed to have dodged a late winter mega-storm. Center City officially tallied 6.0"

The suburbs and Reading got covered with an icy base though, and I guess it's just mother nature saying that you did have a little taste of Spring a few weeks ago, but it's still Winter.

Here's the stats on the snow totals around PA: (courtesy NWS) note that these totals though are not considered official.

********************STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL********************

LOCATION          STORM TOTAL     TIME/DATE   COMMENTS                   
                     SNOWFALL           OF 
                     /INCHES/   MEASUREMENT


   ABBOTTSTOWN           11.0  1210 PM  3/14  BERWICK TOWNSHIP        

   1 ENE ROCKVILLE       18.0  1201 PM  3/14  ATOP BLUE MOUNTAIN      

   HOLLIDAYSBURG          8.0  1210 PM  3/14  SOCIAL MEDIA            

   SALIX                  5.0  1230 PM  3/14  SOCIAL MEDIA            
   1 E GEISTOWN           5.0  1223 PM  3/14  RICHLAND TOWNSHIP       

   1 SSW LINDEN HALL      8.8   156 PM  3/14  NWS EMPLOYEE            
   NWS STATE COLLEGE      8.5   108 PM  3/14  NWS OFFICE              
   BOALSBURG              8.0  1159 AM  3/14  PUBLIC                  
   LEMONT                 7.6  1234 PM  3/14  NWS EMPLOYEE            
   MARYSVILLE             7.3  1242 PM  3/14  NWS EMPLOYEE            

   3 E ORANGEVILLE       23.0   101 PM  3/14  SOUTH-FACING RIDGE      
   BLOOMSBURG            21.0   204 PM  3/14  TRAINED SPOTTER         
   3 NE BENTON           21.0   400 PM  3/14  CO-OP OBSERVER          
   3 S STILLWATER        18.0  1243 PM  3/14  FORKS                   

   CAMP HILL             16.0  1231 PM  3/14  SOCIAL MEDIA            
   BOILING SPRINGS       13.0  1200 PM  3/14  SOCIAL MEDIA            
   CARLISLE              13.0   117 PM  3/14  PUBLIC                  

   HARRISBURG INTERNATI  17.0   400 PM  3/14  ASOS                    
   2 E HERSHEY           16.5   131 PM  3/14  SOCIAL MEDIA            
   HERSHEY               15.0   250 PM  3/14  NWS EMPLOYEE            
   PAXTONIA              15.0   111 PM  3/14  LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP   
   PILLOW                13.0  1200 PM  3/14  SOCIAL MEDIA            

   CHAMBERSBURG          10.0   222 PM  3/14  TRAINED SPOTTER         

   ELIZABETHTOWN         10.0  1200 PM  3/14  SOCIAL MEDIA            
   MILLERSVILLE           9.0  1238 PM  3/14  TRAINED SPOTTER         
   STRASBURG              6.0  1200 PM  3/14  SOCIAL MEDIA            
   GAP                    6.0  1200 PM  3/14  SOCIAL MEDIA            

   LEBANON               14.0  1258 PM  3/14  PUBLIC                  

   PICTURE ROCKS         14.2  1200 PM  3/14  PEMA                    
   LARRYVILLE            14.1   152 PM  3/14  SOCIAL MEDIA            
   1 SSW JERSEY SHORE    13.6   400 PM  3/14  TRAINED SPOTTER         
   JERSEY SHORE          13.0  1245 PM  3/14  SOCIAL MEDIA            

   DANVILLE              14.0   103 PM  3/14  SOCIAL MEDIA            

   ELYSBURG              23.0   400 PM  3/14  TRAINED SPOTTER         
   1 N MILTON            15.0   229 PM  3/14  SOCIAL MEDIA            
   MONTANDON             13.5   130 PM  3/14  SOCIAL MEDIA            

   NEWPORT               13.0   218 PM  3/14  SOCIAL MEDIA            

   BROOKLAND              5.5   259 PM  3/14  TRAINED SPOTTER         

   ASHLAND               21.0   100 PM  3/14  SOCIAL MEDIA            
   RINGTOWN              17.0   136 PM  3/14  TRAINED SPOTTER         
   AUBURN                16.0   245 PM  3/14  TRAINED SPOTTER         
   2 ESE ORWIGSBURG      13.5   134 PM  3/14  SOCIAL MEDIA            

   DUSHORE               17.5  1224 PM  3/14  SOCIAL MEDIA            

   5 NE MORRIS RUN        9.0  1201 PM  3/14  TRAINED SPOTTER         
   BLOSSBURG              8.0   209 PM  3/14  TRAINED SPOTTER         

   MIFFLINBURG           14.3   102 PM  3/14  NWS EMPLOYEE            

   1 S NEW SALEM          9.0   400 PM  3/14  TRAINED SPOTTER         

Baseball season maybe around the corner, but don't tell that to Mother Nature.. it's cold out there in the Northeast this morning.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Brock Stassi has to make this Phillies team going to Opening Day

"Beast" Stassi should be his name, but will he be making this Phillies team?

Ok, this will be the test for Phillies management. Will they or won't they send Brock Stassi up with the Phillies for Opening Day in Cincinnati? We've seen this all before, a player who plays his heart out and is ready for a chance in the big leagues with the Phillies instead has to pack his bags for the minors.

This has been a pleasant surprise for the Phillies, an unexpected one at that. Yes, he has risen up the ranks of the Phillies minors. He played 115 games with the Reading Phils in 2015 with 15 HR and 90 RBI and last year with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs he hit 12 HR and 58 RBI, but in Spring Training this year, he has punched his ticket to win an opening day spot with this team.

Another factor is Stassi is going to be 28 years old in August of 2017, why haven't the Phillies brought him up sooner? I am starting to think that every player in the Phillies minors is doomed to be called up to this team until their career is ruined.

The Phillies would still have Mike Trout playing in the minors, that is no doubt the truth and he's very lucky that the Phils didn't draft him.

There is not a single excuse why Brock Stassi shouldn't have already had his cup of coffee season in a Phillies uniform. It's almost ridiculous really. This is the difference between teams that know what they are doing teams that don't.

The Phillies supposedly hired to more statisticians schooled in the art of looking at numbers and determining who should be playing. All these charts have to tell someone that there are players like Stassi who should be playing.

The fans are waiting to see what happens with this one.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Phils Fan Jack with some more observations at Spring Training

It's another cable from "Phils Fan Jack" as he is down in sunny Florida taking in some Phillies games for Spring Training. A lot going on down there in Florida as we brace for a possible late winter storm on Monday into Tuesday in the Philadelphia region.

Here's Jack's observations:

1. On Thursday, 3/9, took in Toronto at Philadelphia. Blue Jays won 6-4. Eickhoff was hit hard in three innings, gave up a two run triple and solo homo run. Colton Murray looked good in one inning of relief. Murray also pitched a good inning against Detroit. Murray might be a sleeper to grab a bullpen spot on the opening day roster.

They brought the Italian Sausage sandwich back to Spectrum Field this year. Very good. Try one if taking in a game in Clearwater.

2. Friday, 3/10, saw Yankees at Phillies in Clearwater. Bucholz went 3.1 innings. Gave up 3 run homer in the first but settled down. Rhys Hoskins playing first hit the ball hard with a single and a double. 

A lot of traffic in the Tampa Bay Area with spring break, a golf tournament, and a Grand Prix race this weekend in St. Pete. Saturday we are headed to Dunedin for Phillies vs. Blue Jays.

Thanks so much, Jack, have a great time down there, you may want to book an extra week rather than return home to the Nor'easter and snow that we're expected to get early next week.

Going down to Phillies Spring Training next week? Here's some highlights of what's on down in Clearwater:

• St. Patty’s Day Game on Friday, March 17, 1:05 p.m. vs. Blue Jays, a spring training tradition that features green attire (both on and off the field) along with plenty of fan festivities.

• Phillies Charities Silent Auctions & Mystery Ball Sales will take place on Saturday, March 18, (Phillies vs. Pirates, 1:05 p.m.) and Wednesday, March 22 (Phillies vs. Yankees, 1:05 p.m.). Fans can bid on game-used and autographed memorabilia, as well as take part in a signed Mystery Ball Sale, all to benefit local charities in the city of Clearwater.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Phillies look at the future with today's lineup

Is Scott Kingery the future at 2nd base for the Phillies?

A lot of Phillies fans are very excited to see today's starting lineup for the team as the Phils take on the New York Yankees in Clearwater at 1:05 pm.

Nevermind the snow that is currently falling in the Philadelphia region as I write this post, the warmth of the Grapefruit League is reaching all the way to the Delaware Valley.

The excitement from fans is coming from the Phillies players due to be in the starting lineup, Scott Kingery and J.P. Crawford. A lot of Phillies fans are always looking towards the future for players that are highly rated to do well.

Kingery has been making himself known so far this Spring, he's been in 8 games and is batting .353 with 2 of his 6 hits being HR's. So far, he's been showing great power hitting for a 2nd baseman

J.P. Crawford hasn't broken out yet, he's batting .167 in 7 games with 18 AB's. So for now, he's been a name we've been hearing a lot of but possibly someone who doesn't seem like he's ready to step up to the big leagues.

Clay Buchholz is ready to go for his 3rd start of the Spring Training season, he's sitting in a lofty 7.20 ERA at this point only pitching for 5.0 innings total in his two starts prior to today's game against the Yankees.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Some Phils players impressing many early on

Phillies face the Blue Jays in Clearwater today

Take early spring training games with a grain of salt is what the rule of thumb usually is early on but when you're a younger player competing for a spot on a ballclub, you have to come out to play every day.

'Phils Fan Jack' reported on Brock Stassi as being a player that is showing his great skills in Spring Training and coming into this afternoon's game, Stassi has put up some great numbers with 3 HR and 11 RBI so far while Aaron Altherr had a HR and 4 RBI himself.

It's going to make it difficult for Phillies management to make the right decisions when it comes to who gets to head north with this team and who doesn't.

Of course the Phil's went out and splashed some salary money on some veterans for the outfield so, it's made decisions a bit more interesting for this Spring Training.

Surprise, the Phil's are 6-5 so far in Spring, even with Obubel Herrera, and others away playing in the World Baseball Classic.

The opponent today, the Blue Jays, are 2-8-1 on the Spring Training season so far.

Spring Training thoughts from Phils Fan Jack

This year, the blog is happy to have 'Phils Fan Jack' down in Florida scouting the team and sending his observations back up to the readers of the blog here on - here's the first post:

1. My first game was Tuesday, 3/7/17, Phillies vs. Tigers in Lakeland. Brock Stassi started the game at first base then shifted to left field. 

Stassi is really hitting and clubbed a grand slam against the Tigers. He  always hustles on balls hit to him in left field. 

Today, 3/8/17, vs the Braves at Disney he hit a shot down the line on which the Braves first baseman made a great play to deprive Stassi of a possible double. I think he has a shot to make the opening day roster as a backup in left and first base and as a left handed bat off the bench. This would work well for the Phillies who want to play Rys Hoskins at first base at Lehigh Valley. 

2. In Lakeland, Nola threw two innings/about 38 pitches. Gave up 2 runs on four hits. I did not think he looked real sharp. Ben Lively threw 2 innings and looked good.

3. Tips and observations on taking in a game at Lakeland. Park for $5.00 at the Christ Lutheran Church, which is located across Grenada Street from Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Stadium parking is $10.00. Exit I-4 at Exit 33, Lakeland Hills Blvd. Follow Lakeland Hills Blvd to Grenada Street and make left onto Grenada - church is 1/2 block on the left. Ballpark is across Grenada Street. Church sells hot dogs for $1.50, burgers for $3.00, water for $1.00. This is a fund raiser for the church. 

Joker Marchant underwent a multi million dollar renovation this off season. Ripped out were some terrible uncomfortable seats down the left field line and the left field bleachers. These were replaced with regular seating and extending the grandstand. 200 level now provides ample shade. A large bar has been installed in left field pavilion, ala Frenchy's at Spectrum/Brighthouse Field. And in right field pavilion at Joker Marchant is Margaritaville.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Can the Phillies see the potential in Altherr

Sometimes the moves the Phillies management makes has to leave you wondering. There have been some good players in the past few years that haven't seen the proper playing time as young players.

Darin Ruf and Dominic Brown are two names that come to mind most recently that were guys who had tremendous talent but in this writer's opinion were not given the chance to play enough. In 2011, Brown was ranked as the Number 4 prospect in the nation.

Is Aaron Altherr the next Phillies player who will be misused? He's had a taste of the big leagues and he seems like he could be very good if given the chance. What did the Phillies do this offseason? Go out and overlay a few aging outfielders who may only be with the team for this season and will probably block Altherr's progress too this year.

Aaron Altherr smacked a bases clearing triple, and a double yesterday.

Platooning really hasn't worked for the Phillies over the past few years. A constant shuffling in and out of players isn't what this team needs. Some players who can play well together on a consistent basis is what this team needs.

See the pitchers that Altherr hit the best against so far in his career here:

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Latest edition of Phillies Talk Podcast

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