Tag Archives: Ozzie Albies

NL East Division position comparison: second base

Over the next two weeks, I will be examining the rosters of each team in the National League East Division and breaking them down with a position-by-position comparison and ranking. One position each day will be covered, a process that began with Tuesday’s evaluation of the first basemen.

Today the series continues with a look at the division’s second basemen. I’ll continue working around the infield, then behind the plate, and across the outfield. That will be followed by a piece covering each projected starting pitching rotation as a whole, separate pieces on each team’s bench and bullpen, and finally on the managers.

If it appears as though any particular position is unsettled or that a team may use a platoon situation, any potential starting players will be covered.

Once the process is complete you should have a good picture of where the Phillies, or whichever club is your personal favorite, stands entering spring training.

NL EAST – 2020 SECOND BASE RANKINGS

1) Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves: Still just 23 years of age in the 2020 season, Albies is sure to be at or near the top of this divisional positional ranking for many years to come. One of the game’s most dynamic young players, Albies slashed .295/.352/.500 a year ago with 24 homers, 43 doubles, 75 extra-base hits, 86 RBIs, 102 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases. He was a 2018 NL All-Star and won a Silver Slugger Award in 2019 for what was his second full big-league season. The Braves also smartly tied him up with a long-term, team-friendly contract that pays Albies just $30 million total dollars through his age 28 campaign in 2025 and then includes a pair of team-option seasons at just $7 million each year.

2) Nationals depth: The Nats signed veteran Brian Dozier for one year in 2019 and he delivered 20 homers over 135 games. However, his below-average all-around offensive and defensive game relegated Dozier to the bench for much of their World Series-winning postseason run and he was not re-signed for 2020. As of this point, the Nationals are planning to go with a mix of NLCS MVP Howie Kendrick and fellow veterans Starlin Castro and Asdrubal Cabrera at the position. Castro, who turns 30 as spring training ends, hit .270 with 22 homers, 31 doubles, and 86 RBIs in Miami a year ago and is a three-time NL All-Star. He could prove to be a nice addition on the two-year, $12 million free agent contract signed in early January.

3) Phillies depth: Will it be Jean Segura or (finally) Scott Kingery getting most of the play in the 2020 season at the Keystone position down at Citizens Bank Park? The club also signed veteran Josh Harrison to provide further depth. All three can play all around the infield, but at this point it appears that the club will at least head to spring training with Segura at second, Kingery at third, and Harrison as a reserve infielder. Segura has been working out hard and already doing some preliminary work down in the Dominican Republic in anticipation of the switch from shortstop to second base. In fact, his 2016 season in Arizona has been the only one of Segura’s eight-year MLB career in which he has played the position. But he received MVP votes that year in what was in many ways his best all-around season, so this could prove a great move.

4) Jonathan Villar, Miami Marlins: The Fish traded with the Orioles to bring in the seven-year veteran Villar this off-season and he is likely to be the primary starter at second base in 2020. Villar had a good season last year in Baltimore, hitting .274 with 24 homers, 62 extra-base hits, 73 RBIs, 111 runs scored, and 40 stolen bases. Owed $8.2 million for just one more season, Villar will be playing for a free agent deal with some club after the 2020 campaign. This is a young organization looking to build through an improving farm system. He could prove to be a steal for Miami as a stopgap at the position. Isan Diaz, who turns 24 in May, was the starter as a rookie during August and September of last season and will be looking for another opportunity at some point.

5) Robinson Cano, New York Mets: Now age 37, this is not the Robbie Cano who helped beat the Phillies in the 2009 World Series as a member of the New York Yankees. That Robbie Cano was a an eight-time AL All-Star during nine seasons in the Bronx and another five years in Seattle. The Mets obtained him along with closer Edwin Diaz in a December 2018 trade with the Mariners for a five-player package that included outstanding prospect Jarred Kelenic and current Phillies outfielder Jay Bruce. Cano then went out and showed his age, slashing just .256/.307/.428 with 13 homers, 39 RBIs, and 46 runs scored in 107 games. To compound the problem, New York owes him $96 million in an albatross of a deal that runs through 2023, when he will be 40-years-old. It’s going to be a long four years under the weight of that contract. Jeff McNeil is an outstanding hitter who will play the position at times, but the Mets used him at three different spots a year ago, just 37 times at second base. Jed Lowrie will turn 36 in April. He signed a two-year, $20 million free agent deal with the Mets a year ago at this time, sprained his knee, and ended up playing in just nine games.

 

MORE RECENT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES CONTENT:

Braves bats pound Pivetta as rookie hurler shuts down the Phillies

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’eMusd-agS0pg-bU1s7-aXg’,sig:’VqKoYGLaWkSZY3n7x_bwIC1TURAGqV9q0_dROw80j3A=’,w:’594px’,h:’420px’,items:’1159905654′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

Rookie righty Bryse Wilson largely shut down the Phillies bats

The first-place Atlanta Braves (51-36) used a big six-run 6th inning to pull away from the visiting Philadelphia Phillies (45-41) and register a 9-2 win on Wednesday night at SunTrust Park.

With the win, the Braves pushed their lead in the National League East Division standings back out to 5.5 games (five in the loss column) over the second place Phillies, who are now just a half-game ahead of the third place Washington Nationals. The Phillies have not been lower than second place in the division standings all season.
The two teams were battling in a tough 3-2 game after the first 5 1/2 innings, with all of the runs coming via the long ball. Josh Donaldson ripped his 16th homer of the season in the bottom of the 4th inning, a three-run shot off Phillies starter Nick Pivetta, to open the scoring.
In the top of the 6th, Bryce Harper got the Phillies back within a run by blasting his 16th homer. For the Phillies big free agent signing, it was the 200th home run of his big-league career as well as his 1,000th career hit.

Embedded video

There was one bright spot tonight. Bryce Harper’s 16th home run of the season was the 200th of his big-league career, as well as career hit 1,000.

See Phillies Nation’s other Tweets

The tight score didn’t last long, as the Braves knocked Pivetta out of the game with their crooked inning in the bottom of the frame. Two more homers, both coming with two outs, did most of the damage. The first came off the bat of rookie left fielder Austin Riley to make it 6-2 and drive Pivetta from the game. It was Riley’s 15th home run in just 44 games since his May 15 promotion from the minors.
Phillies manager Gabe Kapler went to his bullpen and brought in Juan Nicasio. The right-hander has been inconsistent all season, and he was just bad in this one. Ozzie Albies and Tyler Flowers greeted him with back-to-back doubles to push the Atlanta lead out to 7-2. Then Matt Joyce, pinch-hitting for starting pitcher Bryse Wilson, drilled a Nicasio four-seam fastball out deep to right field for his third homer of the year to put the final runs on the board.
For Pivetta, this was a disheartening fourth consecutive poor outing. Over 23.1 innings in those four starts, Pivetta has given up 20 runs (19 earned) on 29 hits, including nine home runs. He was reached for at least two home runs in each of those four games.
The two clubs have now split the first two games of this series. If the Phillies want to win a series, they are going to have to find a way to score runs off one of the toughest starting pitchers in the game on Independence Day in Mike Soroka. They put at least five runs on the board in six of seven games coming into tonight. That offense has to show up on Thursday.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

PHILLIES – Pivetta: (Loss 4-3), 5.2 IP, 5 hits, 6 runs (5 earned), 1 walk, 4 strikeouts. 86 pitches, 56 for strikes.
BRAVES – Wilson: (Win 1-0), 6 IP, 5 hits, 2 earned, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts. 86 pitches, 60 for strikes.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: BRYCE WILSON

The home run by Harper was the only real mistake made by the 21-year-old rookie right-hander who was making just his third big-league start. The Phillies beat him up back on March 30 in what was his MLB debut. This time around he showed why he is considered one of the top prospects in one of the most respected organizations in the game.

TICKET IQ NEXT GAME


Phillies head to Atlanta for key early July series with first-place Braves

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’x5gPGVUoRLF0-EdQ06PCEg’,sig:’E4iS_94sHgTsYef_Ns-R02APXqUB35eB32Uk24wtgSE=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’822039532′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

The Freeze will be doing his race thing this weekend in Atlanta

The Philadelphia Phillies (44-40) slumped during the month of June, and watched as the defending NL East Division champion Atlanta Braves (50-35) stormed past them to take over the division lead.

With the calendar flipped to a new month, the Phillies hope to make a clean start. They will try to begin pecking away at the Braves five-game lead in the loss column during a three-game series this week at SunTrust Park in Atlanta.
The two teams have met for two series in the 2019 season’s first half. At Citizens Bank Park in late March, the Phillies swept the Braves, setting the stage for the first two months which saw the Phillies hold the division lead for all but seven days.
In mid-June, Atlanta took two of three games in front of their home fans at SunTrust Park, winning the opener in walkoff fashion and then blowing the doors off the Phillies with a 15-1 thrashing on Father’s Day.

ATLANTA BRAVES

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Freddie Freeman: .312/.399/.592, 22 homers, 47 extra-base hits, 65 RBIs, 63 runs, 3 steals
Ronald Acuna Jr. .295/.376/.513, 20 homers, 33 extra-base hits, 52 RBIs, 64 runs, 13 steals
Ozzie Albies: .281/.342/.465, 13 homers, 32 extra-base hits, 46 RBIs, 51 runs, 6 steals
Nick Markakis: .275/.354/.426, 8 homers, 27 extra-base hits, 48 RBIs, 54 runs, 0 steals
Dansby Swanson: .269/.332/.483, 15 homers, 36 extra-base hits, 52 RBIs, 55 runs, 7 steals
Josh Donaldson: .253/.358/.478, 15 homers, 35 extra-base hits, 39 RBIs, 44 runs, 2 steals
Austin Riley: .273/.326/.582, 14 homers, 22 extra-base hits, 37 RBIs, 32 runs, 0 steals (just 43 game; promoted 5/15)

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Brian McCann: .267/.339/.466, 8 homers, 13 extra-base hits, 30 RBIs, 17 runs scored.
The 35-year-old played the first nine seasons of his now 15-year big-league career in Atlanta after the club originally selected him in the second round of the 2002 MLB Draft out of a local Georgia high school. He became a 7x NL All-Star during that first stint with the club and won five Silve Slugger Awards, becoming recognized as the top offensive catcher in the National League over the first decade of the 21st century.
McCann became a free agent following the 2013 season and signed with the New York Yankees, where he won an American League Silver Slugger in the 2015 campaign. The Yanks dealt him to the Houston Astros in November 2016, and McCann helped Houston to win the franchise (and his) first World Series championship in 2017.
A free agent once again this past off-season, McCann returned to the Braves, inking a one-year deal. He has proven a bargain at $2 million bucks, taking on the role of the lefty side of a catching platoon with the righty-swinging Tyler Flowers.
McCann is a noted Phillies-killer, slashing .280/.351/.484 with 23 home runs. That marks the most that he has blasted against any one team, and he has consistently produced at key moments over 136 career games against the Phillies. He produced a three-hit game that included one of those homers back on June 14 during a 9-8 Phillies victory in Atlanta.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

FRIDAY – Dallas Keuchel: 31-year-old veteran lefty is 1-1, 5.06 ERA, 1.781 WHIP, 16 hits over 10.2 IP with a 5/3 K:BB. Signed with the Braves as a free agent on June 6 and joined the big club after making two minor league tuneup starts. This will be just his third start in an Atlanta uniform, his first in front of the home crowd. Keuchel has made two career starts vs the Phillies, but those were way back in 2012 and 2014 while he was with the Houston Astros.
SATURDAY – Bryse Wilson: 21-year-old rookie right-hander is ranked as the Braves #5 prospect. He has pitched in three big-league games, making two starts, allowing 11 hits over 8.2 IP with a 10/5 K:BB. Wilson started against the Phillies back on March 30, allowing 4 earned runs on 5 hits over just 3.1 innings and surrendering a homer run to Maikel Franco.
SUNDAY – Mike Soroka: One of the leading contenders for the National League Rookie of the Year Award, the 21-year-old righty has been named to the NL All-Star team. He has gone 9-1, 2.13 ERA, 0.980 WHIP. Soroka has allowed 64 hits over 84.2 IP with a 67/19 K:BB over 14 starts after debuting in 2018 with five solid starts. This will be his first time facing the Phillies.

THE SKIPPER

Guys are starting to feel it,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said per Mark Bowman for MLB.comafter his squad crushed the Phillies on Father’s Day. “I kind of felt as the weather got warm we’d get going.” Man, have they ever got going? Snitker’s club has gone 32-15 since ending a four-game losing skid on May 9 that left them two games below the .500 mark.
The 63-year-old Snitker worked his way up the ladder in the Braves organization, taking over as skipper during the 2016 campaign. He has fashioned an overall 271-262 record as the manager, leading the Braves to the 2018 NL East crown.

THE BALLPARK

SunTrust Park is located 10 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta. The ballpark opened for the 2017 season, and has a regular capacity of just over 41,000 seats.
Dimensions at the ballpark are 335 to left and 325 feet down the right field line. It is 375 to right-center and 385 out to left-center, and a shot to dead-center field will have to clear the fence at an even 400 feet away.
The Freeze‘ is a between innings foot-race attraction, as a lucky (?) gets a chance with a large head start to defeat a member of the Braves grounds crew in a foot race.

Phillies suffer humiliating Father’s Day defeat at hands of the Braves

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’8PlKtYpRQVFDxlDL0GSDrQ’,sig:’9YbwnBdg2m3XQbqHJtsf0qgu-OhG4whcTLElQ3KUIX8=’,w:’594px’,h:’395px’,items:’1156306116′,caption: true ,tld:’dk’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

Braves mascot stole Harper’s money, players stole Phillies hearts

The host Atlanta Braves (42-30) completely dismantled the Philadelphia Phillies (39-32) by a 15-1 score, treating the fans at SunTrust Park to a real Father’s Day celebration.

With the win, the Braves open up a 2.5 game lead on the Phillies in the National League East Division standings. Atlanta has now won 12 of their last 15 games, and they are 24-10 since manager Brian Snitker installed 2018 NL Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuna Jr. as his leadoff man.
The Phillies were never in this one. Manager Gabe Kapler decided to go with Vince Velasquez in an “Opener” role, and it completely backfired. Velasquez (2-4) surrendered three runs in the bottom of the 1st inning to put the club into a hole from which they were never able to climb out.
Velasquez was followed to the hill by Cole Irvin, and the lefty was even worse. Irvin would go 3.2 innings, allowing six earned runs and letting the Braves score in every inning in which he was on the mound.
Next up, Jerad Eickhoff, meaning that Kapler used three pitchers who were in his starting rotation at one point in this season. Eickhoff was even worse than Irvin, if you can believe that, surrendering five earned runs in just one inning on the bump.
The Phillies most effective “pitcher” in this game? Utility man Sean Rodriguez, who tossed a shutout frame in the bottom of the 8th inning that included a strikeout.

Rather than just tick off each of the runs and prolong the agony for you readers, let’s just take a look down the Braves lineup. Acuna had four hits including his 16th home run and scored four runs. Josh Donaldson produced three hits including his 12th homer. Freddie Freeman had two hits, a walk, two RBIs, and two runs scored. Ozzie Albies had three hits, two runs, and two RBIs. Nick Markakis and Austin Riley each had a pair of hits, combining to score two runs and drive in three.

Embedded video

Here’s a look at Josh Donaldson’s third homer of the series, which pushed Braves lead out to 5-0 in bottom of 3rd inning.

See Phillies Nation’s other Tweets

All-in-all, the Atlanta lineup went 19-40 on the afternoon. That makes for an incredible one-day batting average at the .475 mark. Again, against three pitchers who were in the Phillies starting rotation this season.
The lone Phillies run came in the top of the 5th inning with the club already down by a 7-0 score when an RBI single off the bat of Bryce Harper scored Andrew Knapp. Though Atlanta’s starting pitcher, Mike Foltynewicz (2-5) was wild, walking five and throwing one charged wild pitch (he threw another wild that didn’t hurt him), the Phillies simply couldn’t take advantage.
In his post-game presser, Kapler had little choice but to be matter-of-fact after this kind of defeat: “We’re gonna need to perform really well against teams like the Atlanta Braves. They’re a deep lineup. We’ve obviously played them well overall on the year, but today’s effort wasn’t good enough.
“We turn the page and move on to Washington very quickly. We don’t dwell on this one, we get right on to the next one.” ~ Gabe Kapler
The Phillies have no choice but to forget about this one. They played the red-hot Braves extremely tough over the first two games of the series, losing Friday night on a walkoff and then winning last night with their own 9th inning rally. They now move on to Washington for a four-game set with the Nationals beginning on Monday night in our nation’s capital.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

PHILLIES – Vince Velasquez: 2.1 IP, 4 hits, 4 earned runs, 0 walks, 4 strikeouts. Threw 38 pitches, 26 for strikes.
BRAVES – Mike Foltynewicz: 6 IP, 4 hits, 1 earned run, 5 walks, 6 strikeouts. Threw 100 pitches, 62 for strikes.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: RONALD ACUNA JR

Hard to top a four-hit, four-run game in which you bash a home run. Acuna has been the Braves catalyst for the last 6-7 weeks, and he was that once again today.

TICKET IQ NEXT GAME


John Middleton will prove to be the key should Phillies quickly return to contention

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’a7J7SE8mSvFFwFBj_eK1sA’,sig:’ooeFomVGdbHEMelwmrGSY3XEd9BfP1McQKo4u6MHZ-M=’,w:’594px’,h:’435px’,items:’484729970′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

(Controlling owner Middleton needs to open the pocketbook wide)

For much of this past summer the Philadelphia Phillies appeared to be a team and an organization on the rise. The club bolted to first place and sat atop the National League East Division standings for more than a month. The teams within their minor league organization were also enjoying success.

But in the end, the Phillies collapsed to finish in third place with a losing record for the sixth consecutive season. And though three of the organization’s minor league affiliates reached the postseason, none were able to capture a title.
It was a disheartening ending to what as recently as early August seemed to be shaping up as a summer full of promise. Still, you might be excused for feeling that the Phillies organization was making positive strides and was now primed to contend for years to come.
Slow your roll.
By the failed stretch run, the Phillies were regularly starting a lineup where half the players were over 30 years of age. And in their most recent organizational rankings, the respected analysts at Baseball America had dropped the Phillies from sixth to 18th place. Just as importantly, the Phillies division rivals were on the rise.
The Atlanta Braves ran away with the National League East Division crown. The Braves are led by 28-year-old Freddie Freeman and feature a pair of dynamic young talents in second baseman Ozzie Albies (21) and left fielder Ronald Acuna (20) in their everyday lineup. Atlanta also has a boatload of talented young pitchers both at the big-league and minor league levels.
The Washington Nationals bolted past the Phillies to finish in second place. They may lose superstar Bryce Harper to free agency, possibly even to the Phillies. However, the Nats are likely to remain serious contenders thanks to the emergence of shortstop Trea Turner (25) and outfielders Juan Soto (20) and Victor Robles (21) along with their returning solid pitching.
Baseball America put the Braves at #5 and the Nationals at #12 in their organizational rankings. And it isn’t just those two teams that the Phillies appear to need to focus upon with concern.
The New York Mets suffered through an extremely disappointing campaign, one marred seriously by injuries. By the end of the year, New York had pulled within just three games of the Phillies in the standings.
The Mets lineup includes emerging young talents in shortstop Amed Rosario (22) and outfielders Brandon Nimmo (25) and Michael Conforto (25), while their talented young pitching features Noah Syndergaard (25) among others.
New York was rated at #19, just one place behind the Phillies, in the Baseball America organizational rankings. That was a jump up from 27th place on their previous list, revealing that the Mets organization appears to be on the rise.
There is no doubt that things are looking up for the Phillies as far as their own possibilities are concerned. There are a handful of talented young players and pitchers, and a few well-regarded minor league prospects. The club is positioned well financially to add impact free agents.
More the point for Phillies fans is that whether their team actually develops into a true contender for the next handful of seasons is not simply a matter of what their own team is doing. It is not simply a matter of whether Rhys Hoskins and Aaron Nola are joined by two or three more young players stepping forward to impact the on-field talent at Citizens Bank Park.
The real point is that their direct competitors in the National League East Division continue working hard to contend into the future themselves.
The main reason that the Phillies, led by owner John Middleton, need to spend big in free agency if they actually want to contend next season and into the immediate future is that, frankly, they are playing from behind.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as “The main reason why the Phillies need to spend big in free agency