Tag Archives: Phillies Report Cards

Phillies position players: 2019 first trimester report cards

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Mixed grades for Phillies position players in first 2019 trimester

Each season in Major League Baseball is currently scheduled to last for 162 games. This means that the Philadelphia Phillies reached the 1/3 pole of the 2019 campaign this past Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park against the Saint Louis Cardinals.

I previously handed out report cards for the first “trimester” of the season for each of the starting pitchers on the Phillies 2019 roster, as well as outfielder Nick Williams and reliever Pat Neshek.
In an effort to wrap-up the process, this piece will include a letter grade, along with a brief description of each remaining key position players contributions, including their relevant statistics through Tuesday night, May 28.
I’ll be back with player grades for the second trimester and the season to that point when the Phillies reach the 108-game mark. That is scheduled to come on July 31, the same date as the MLB trade deadline.

STARTING LINEUP

Andrew McCutchen (B): ‘Cutch’ slashed .257/.375/.446 with eight homers, 26 RBIs, 38 runs scored, and 21 extra-base hits through the first one-third of the season. He provided strong left field defense, and was mostly solid when called upon to fill in at center field as well. For the forseeable future in this 2019 season, that could prove to be his regular position.
Jean Segura (A): Segura was perhaps the club’s most consistent hitter at that one-third mark, slashing .308/.354/.478 with five homers, 23 RBIs, 35 runs scored, and 19 extra-base hits. He has also provided stellar defense at shortstop. Segura missed ten games after suffering a mid-April injury.
Bryce Harper (B): For many fans, the first one-third of this Phillies season was a disappointment from Harper after he was signed to a massive free agent contract. True, he hit for just a .232 average. But he also got on base at a .357 clip, and provided nine homers, 36 RBIs, 31 runs scored, and 25 extra-base hits. While we expect more offensively, his grade also reflects his having played outstanding defense in right field and provided a hustling example on the field and base paths at all times.
Rhys Hoskins (A): Through the one-third pole of the season, Hoskins was the club’s most consistent run-producer. That shouldn’t be much of a surprise, with his return to the more comfortable first base position and the improved offensive talent surrounding him in the batting order. He slashed .271/.396/.536 with 13 homers, 41 RBIs, 31 runs scored, and 24 extra-base hits.
J.T. Realmuto (A): It would be hard to argue that there is a better all-around catcher in the game of baseball today. Realmuto slashed .272/.325/.462 with eight homers, 32 RBIs, 33 runs scored, and 19 extra-base hits. More importantly, he started 46 starts of the club’s first 54 games behind the plate, throwing out some of the best base runners in the game on a consistent basis.
Odubel Herrera (F): His season and his career with the Phillies came to an end with his arrest on charges of domestic violence in an Atlantic City casino late last Sunday night. I don’t think it is too presumptuous or irrational to make that statement. Herrera was placed on paid disciplinary probation by MLB as they examine the incident. Prior to that, he was awful, slashing .222/.288/.341 with just one homer, 16 RBIs, and a dozen runs and extra-base hits. He also continued to mix fantastic plays with boneheaded blunders in center field. The only surprise is that, prior to the arrest, he still had many supporters among the fan base.
Cesar Hernandez (B): While his defense remains questionable at the Keystone and his baserunning leaves much to be desired, there is no doubt that Hernandez has provided much more with his bat than anyone could have predicted. He was slashing .303/.361/.482 with six homers, 25 RBIs and runs scored, and 21 extra-base hits at the one-third mark of the season. His all-around game is all that is keeping him from an ‘A’ grade.
Maikel Franco (C): Had the third baseman been judged on his first month alone, he would have received an A+ in all likelihood. But a deep May slump has seen his numbers plunge, and dropped his grade for the first 1/3 of the season commensurately. Franco slashed .219/.294/.388 with seven homers, 29 RBIs, 23 runs scored, and 17 extra-base hits. However, he hasn’t homered in more than a month, and slashed just .158/.190/.211 with four RBIs from May 2-28. He has played a solid third base, helping his grade some.

BENCH REGULARS

Scott Kingery (A): The primary bench weapon for manager Gabe Kapler so far this season, Kingery missed a month from mid-April to mid-May. However, when playing he slashed .339/.381/559 with seven RBIs and nine extra-base hits and runs scored in just 63 plate appearances. Having played five different positions already this season, Kingery is filling the super-utility role carved out for him at the outset of the season perfectly to this point.
Andrew Knapp (D): It is becoming increasingly evident that Knapp is not a big-league caliber player for a postseason contender, even as a backup catcher. Over the first 1/3 of the season he slashed just .167/.352/.286 with one solo homer, two doubles, and six runs scored across 54 plate appearances. The backup catcher is a tough role. You don’t play regularly, especially with a guy like Realmuto as the starter. That is revealed by the nine starts among 26 games played for Knapp. But the team simply must get more production from the position when that backup backstop is called upon.

THE REST

It simply wouldn’t be fair to give players such as Phil Gosselin or Sean Rodriguez a grade, since neither has received nearly enough playing time or been assigned any type of consistent role with the team. Both have had moments in which they have helped. Neither has lit the world on fire. Rodriguez in particular appears to be the type of veteran bench player who could continue to help the team as it contends over the summer.
Players such as Roman QuinnDylan CozensMitch Walding, and Aaron Altherr, who each appeared over the first 1/3 of the season, simply did not play enough as well. As a group, you would have to give this Phillies “deep bench” grouping no better than a ‘D’ cumulative grade. They inspired no fear in the opposition, nor confidence in the fan base.

Zach Eflin 2019 first trimester report card

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Zach Eflin has been solid at the back end of the Phillies rotation

Each season in Major League Baseball is currently scheduled to last for 162 games. This means that the Philadelphia Phillies (31-22) reach the 1/3 pole with their home game on Tuesday night against the Saint Louis Cardinals.

Over the last few days, I began handing out report cards for the first “trimester” of the season for each player on the Phillies 2019 roster. That process continues on Monday and Tuesday with a letter grade, along with a brief description of each player’s contributions, including their relevant statistics.
I’ll be back with each player’s grades for the second trimester and the season to that point when the Phillies reach the 108-game mark. That is scheduled to come on July 31, the same date as the MLB trade deadline.


ZACH EFLIN

FIRST TRIMESTER GRADE: B
STATS: 11 starts, 5-5 record, 3.02 ERA, 1.188 WHIP, 64 hits allowed including 10 home runs over 65.2 innings with a 51/14 K:BB ratio.
REPORT: Eflin opened the season as a major question mark after collapsing over his final eight starts a year ago as the ball club also collapsed out of the playoff race. He turned just 25-years-old the day after his second start this season, and has generally been a positive in the rotation.
He was beaten up in Milwaukee on Sunday. But prior to that he was riding a stretch where five of his previous six outings resulted in a Quality Start. On April 28 at home against the Miami Marlins, Eflin tossed the Phillies first complete game victory in three years. Two starts later on May 11 in Kansas City, he did it again.
Because he started so strong this season there has been some concern over natural regression with Eflin. Some of those voicing such concerns will point to yesterday’s blowup at Miller Park as evidence that this process has begun.
I don’t necessarily buy into it. While Eflin does not usually possess dominating stuff when he takes the mound, the fact is that he has proven himself to be a winner at every level. He simply knows how to pitch, and he rarely gets rattled. There is no reason that he cannot continue to find success at the back end of the Phillies rotation as they contend for a postseason berth.
Eflin was bothered by a stomach bug that struck him just a couple of hours before yesterday’s start, but didn’t want to blame that on his poor outing. His comment on the matter per an AP report at CBS3 Philadelphia:
“I woke up fine this morning and about two hours before the game it kind of hit me pretty hard and didn’t feel right. I felt good enough to compete. It had nothing to do with me missing my spots or having bad command.”
Let’s write this one off to his poor physical condition on the day, no matter what he says, and let’s see how he bounces back in his next outing. For now, his first trimester grade reflects his overall positive performance over the 2019 season’s first two months.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as Phillies 2019 first trimester report card: Zach Eflin

Vince Velasquez 2019 first trimester report card

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Velasquez has gone from rotation to IL to bullpen in 2019

Each season in Major League Baseball is currently scheduled to last for 162 games. This means that the Philadelphia Phillies (31-22) reach the 1/3 pole with their home game on Tuesday night against the Saint Louis Cardinals.

Over the last few days, I began handing out report cards for the first “trimester” of the season for each player on the Phillies 2019 roster. That process continues on Monday and Tuesday with a letter grade, along with a brief description of each player’s contributions, including their relevant statistics.
I’ll be back with each player’s grades for the second trimester and the season to that point when the Phillies reach the 108-game mark. That is scheduled to come on July 31, the same date as the MLB trade deadline.


VINCE VELASQUEZ

FIRST TRIMESTER GRADE: C
STATS: 9 game including 6 starts, 2-2 record, 4.64 ERA, 1.485 WHIP, 32 hits allowed including nine home runs over 33 innings with a 36/17 K:BB ratio.
REPORT: Velasquez started the season with a quick single inning out of the bullpen in early April, striking out two in a shutout frame. Moving back into his spot in the starting rotation, the righty reeled off four straight solid outings over which he allowed just 16 hits over 21.2 innings with a 2.08 ERA and a .203 batting average against.
But he then got beaten up in this next two starts against the Tigers and Cardinals. That was followed by a stint on the Injured List due to a right forearm strain. When Velasquez returned he found his place in the rotation was gone. The Phillies have finally decided that he may be able to help more out of the bullpen on a permanent basis, as many had called for over recent months and years.
Velasquez’ career as a steady reliever got off to a rousing start when he struck out four Brewers batters over a two-inning stint in this past weekend’s series opener on Friday night. But in yesterday’s finale, the Brew Crew knocked him around for four earned runs on five hits and a walk over just 2/3 of an inning.
He has to be graded on the totality of his contributions, and so you cannot ignore those first five outings. But three of his last four times on the mound have produced disastrous results: 8.1 combined innings over which he has allowed a dozen earned runs on 15 hits with a 10/9 K:BB ratio.
I believe he is where he belongs now. Velasquez has the stuff to succeed as a back-end reliever in high-leverage situations, possibly even as a closer. But he is going to need to work there for a bit, and work on the mental part of the transition. He needs to become accustomed to the pace of warming up and sitting down, being ready to pitch every day, and coming in to games in an immediate pressure situation with games on the line.
He’s like any other person, he wants to feel valued, he wants to contribute, and I think he can make a major contribution out of the ‘pen,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “It’s a transition for him. It’s something that people have been talking about for a really long time and now it’s time to see what it looks like.”
Give us your feedback. Respond either as a comment to this piece or at our social media feeds. What is your take on him to this point? What, if anything, would you do differently regarding this player or their role if you were the Phillies manager or GM?
Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Phillies 2019 first trimester report card: Vince Velasquez

Jake Arrieta 2019 first trimester report card

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Jake Arrieta has become the leader of the Phillies rotation

Each season in Major League Baseball is currently scheduled to last for 162 games. This means that the Philadelphia Phillies (31-22) reach the 1/3 pole with their home game on Tuesday night against the Saint Louis Cardinals.

Over the last few days, I began handing out report cards for the first “trimester” of the season for each player on the Phillies 2019 roster. That process continues on Monday and Tuesday with a letter grade, along with a brief description of each player’s contributions, including their relevant statistics.
I’ll be back with each player’s grades for the second trimester and the season to that point when the Phillies reach the 108-game mark. That is scheduled to come on July 31, the same date as the MLB trade deadline.

JAKE ARRIETA

FIRST TRIMESTER GRADE: B+
STATS: 11 starts, 5-4 record, 3.60 ERA, 1.300 WHIP, 65 hits allowed including nine home runs over 70 innings with a 59/26 K:BB ratio.
REPORT: There is an understandable view among many in the Phillies fan base that Aaron Nola is the ace of their pitching rotation. That is based on his emergence a year ago during a season in which the young right-hander finished third in the NL Cy Young Award voting.  But that view would not be entirely correct.
Arrieta is at least a co-ace of this rotation. He is an actual Cy Young Award winner, and has finished in the top 10 of the voting in two other seasons. He has been the top pitcher on a World Series-winning ball club. And this year, at age 33 and completely healthy, Arrieta has seized the role at the top of that rotation and provided a consistent, veteran presence almost every time he takes the mound.
Eight of his 11 starts have been of the Quality Start variety. He has beaten three of the four NL East Division opponents this year, and in his last outing on Friday night he shut down a powerful Milwaukee lineup in their hitter’s ball park. Six times he has held the opposition lineup to five or fewer hits.
He understands how much we depend on him,” manager Gabe Kapler said after that Milwaukee outing per MLB.com’s Andrew Wagner. “He understood how the club was depending on him today, and he stepped right up and met the challenge.
Arrieta has stepped up as a leader, both on the mound and in the clubhouse. He has never been afraid to speak his mind, letting players know when they have fallen short in effort. While some fans have disliked his taking that commentary to the media, the fact is that he reportedly has always spoken to any teammates first.

And Arrieta never shirks responsibility in the few instances where he himself has failed the team. It bumps his grade up with that “+” mark.

He is exactly the type of unflappable veteran the team needs fronting their rotation. Signed through the 2020 season, he will likely continue to provide a majority of strong outings and a veteran presence throughout his contract.

Aaron Nola 2019 first trimester report card

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Numbers are down, but Nola keeps on winning in 2019

Each season in Major League Baseball is currently scheduled to last for 162 games. This means that the Philadelphia Phillies (30-21) will reach the 1/3 pole with their home game on Tuesday night against the Saint Louis Cardinals.

Over the next few days, I’ll be handing out the report cards for the first “trimester” of the season for each player on the Phillies 2019 roster. There will be a letter grade, along with a brief description of their contributions, including their relevant statistics.
I’ll be back with each player’s grades for the second trimester and the season to that point when the Phillies reach the 108-game mark. That is scheduled to come on July 31, the same date as the MLB trade deadline.

AARON NOLA

FIRST TRIMESTER GRADE: B
STATS: 11 starts, 5-0 record, 4.53 ERA, 1.543 WHIP, 64 hits allowed including nine home runs over 57.2 innings with a 66/25 K:BB ratio.
REPORT: It’s been a mixed bag for Nola, a pitcher who finished third in the 2018 NL Cy Young Award voting and who many expected to challenge for that honor this time around as well. The ERA and WHIP are unsightly, mostly because of a three-start stretch in early April.
Since that early rough patch, Nola has gone 4-0 and the team is 6-1 over his last seven starts. Winning is what it’s all about, and Nola has found a way to win most times out, even without being as effective as last season. That gets him the shaky ‘B’ grade this time around. Believe me, I was tempted to go a level lower.
Just four of his 11 starts have been of the Quality Start variety thus far in 2019. In eight of the 11 he has given up more hits than innings pitched. He needs to solve these early-season issues and return closer to that 2018 form, or the Phillies are going to find holding on to first place much more difficult as we move into and through the summer months.
The right-hander turnes just 26-years-old next week. He has all the tools still, and has flashed them this season despite some struggles, to pitch at the front of the Phillies rotation for a long time. Still the best the team has to offer, I expect him to be better over the second part of the trimester.

Give us your feedback. Respond either as a comment to this piece or at our social media feeds. What is your take on him to this point? What, if anything, would you do differently regarding this player or their role if you were the Phillies manager or GM?