Tag Archives: San Diego Padres

MLB 2019 Power Rankings: Astros, Dodgers remain at the top of each league as July opens

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Texas Rangers have been a surprise AL contender in 2019

This is a Philadelphia Phillies site, and so the team’s place on my MLB Power Rankings always needs to be highlighted. When I debuted the 2019 rankings on June 1, there were fans upset that the first-place club was in the #15 slot.

By the June 15 rankings, the Phillies had moved up a spot to #14, although by then the team had dropped to second place. Still, I heard complaints from fans who believed the club should be ranked higher.
Maybe now they can admit that the rankings were on to something? The Phillies have now slipped to the #18 spot. They have the 12th-best record in MLB overall, and are buoyed by their defense, tied for 8th in the game. But their hitting attack has been mediocre (15th) and they are seriously weighted down by a pitching staff rated just 25th in baseball.
Fans are allowed to be unrealistic about their team based on pure emotion. My own personal feelings have nothing to do with the MLB Power Rankings published here at Phillies Nation. Instead, it’s all about each team’s actual results and statistical performances.
There is never any subjectivity on my part. I take key statistics and rank each of the 30 teams in Major League baseball on their ability to actually win ball games as well as their performance on offense, on the pitching mound, and in the field.
The MLB Power Rankings will be updated here at Phillies Nation on the 1st and 15th of the month for the remainder of the regular season using the following methodology.

RANKINGS METHODOLOGY

Introduced and then upgraded during the course of last season, my formula for compiling the rankings received another tweak to begin this year. By the end of 2018, I was researching each of the 30 MLB teams current position in the four categories of winning percentageruns scoredpitching OPS, and fielding percentage.
This year, runs-per-game has replaced that simple “runs scored” category in order to get the offensive component. I then assign each of those component category team rankings a 1-30 value and simply add those values up to determine an overall final ratings score. Where there was a tie, it is broken by win-loss percentage, then by runs-per-game, followed by pitching OPS.

2019 JULY 1 –  MLB RANKINGS

The Houston Astros repeat at the top of the Power Rankings. But the top four teams remain the same, just with a slight juggling of the order.
The hot risers are the Washington Nationals, who have shot up 11 places since June 1. In the American League, the Texas Rangers are up again, this time from 11 to 8 after going from 16 to 11 in the June 15 rankings. And the Oakland A’s burst up from 12 to 5 this time around.
On the down side, the Milwaukee Brewers have dropped from the top ten down to 16. Meanwhile, the San Diego Padres, who like the Phillies landed a huge off-season free agent in Manny Machado, have been struggling along in the lower half. The Friars are 20th for a second straight ranking.
In parentheses are the team’s positions from the June 1 and June 15 rankings, shown in that order from left to right.
  1. Houston Astros (3-1)
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers (1-3)
  3. Minnesota Twins (2-2)
  4. Tampa Bay Rays (4-4)
  5. Oakland Athletics (8-12)
  6. Arizona Diamondbacks (9-5)
  7. Atlanta Braves (12-9)
  8. Texas Rangers (16-11)
  9. New York Yankees (5-8)
  10. Boston Red Sox (6-6)
  11. Chicago Cubs (10-13)
  12. Colorado Rockies (11-7)
  13. Washington Nationals (24-19)
  14. Saint Louis Cardinals (14-15)
  15. Cleveland Indians (18-18)
  16. Milwaukee Brewers (7-10)
  17. Cincinnati Reds (13-16)
  18. Philadelphia Phillies (15-14)
  19. Los Angeles Angels (19-17)
  20. San Diego Padres (17-20)
  21. Miami Marlins (23-26)
  22. Kansas City Royals (21-21)
  23. Pittsburgh Pirates (20-25)
  24. New York Mets (22-23)
  25. San Francisco Giants (29-27)
  26. Toronto Blue Jays (28-28)
  27. Seattle Mariners (26-22)
  28. Chicago White Sox (25-24)
  29. Detroit Tigers (27-29)
  30. Baltimore Orioles (30-30)

SPOTLIGHT TEAM: TEXAS RANGERS

Few people had the Texas Rangers as a serious contender entering the 2019 Major League Baseball season. But the Rangers have bashed the ball around the yard, ranking 5th in runs-per-game, and have also played solid defensively.
Unfortunately for the Rangers they play in the same division, the American League West, as the top team in our rankings, the Houston Astros. As of today, the Rangers trail their Texas rivals by six games in the loss column. The Rangers are tied with the Cleveland Indians in the loss column in the race for the second AL Wildcard playoff berth.
The big bats in the Texas attack have been a trio of hitters who have rotated the left field and designated hitter positions: Joey GalloShin-Soo Choo, and a rejuvenated Hunter Pence. Shortstop Elvis Andrus is also enjoying a strong first half. Both Gallo and Pence, who is currently on the IL, were selected for the AL squad in the 2019 All-Star Game.
What has held Texas back is their pitching staff, which factored at just 23rd in the rankings category of OPS-against. One bright spot has been AlLAll-Star Mike Minor, a 31-year-old left-hander who could become a big trade chip should Texas fall out of the playoff race later this month.
Credit first-year manager Chris Woodward for keeping the team believing in themselves. Now, does GM Jon Daniels believe enough to go out and try to bolster that rotation for a genuine playoff run? Or will the Rangers actually become sellers as that July 31 trade deadline approaches?
(Previous spotlight teams: June 1 – Minnesota Twins , June 15 – Atlanta Braves)
Originally published at Phillies Nation as “2019 MLB Power Rankings: July 1

Manny Machado and Padres take on Bryce Harper and Phillies for first time

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Phillies will meet Manny Machado and the Padres in San Diego

The Philadelphia Phillies (33-26) pay their lone visit to Petco Park this week to take on the host San Diego Padres (30-29) in a three-game series.

The Padres currently reside in third place in the National League West Division standings, 10.5 games in back (10 in the loss column) of the rampaging Los Angeles Dodgers.
After leading the division for a full week in the middle of April, the Padres slumped into a six-game losing streak. They followed that up by winning five in a row. But after appearing to have regained their equilibrium, the club has gone 14-18 over the last six weeks and slowly fallen off the pace.
Entering this series, San Diego has dropped two straight, three of their last four, and five of their last seven games. The Phillies will enter having dropped a season-worst four games in a row, and are now clinging to a one-game lead in the NL East Division.
A huge problem for the Padres has been their inability to score. They are just 13th of the 15 NL teams in runs scored and OPS. However, their hitters are fourth in the league in home runs, so they do have the ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark. This should be of particular concern to the Phillies, whose pitching staff has surrendered the most homers (92) in the National League.
Pitching has been their saving grace. The San Diego staff has combined to tie for the third-best batting average against figure (.240) in the entire NL and the seventh-best BAA mark and ninth-best ERA in all of Major League Baseball.
This series will end a pivotal 23-game stretch for the Phillies. Over the course of that three-and-a-half week endurance test they will have faced a tough gauntlet of opponents from outside their division, with 13 of the games coming on the road. The Phillies have gone 10-10 over the first 20 games, so a winning series would mean they came out ahead during what will arguably be the roughest part of their entire 2019 schedule.

SAN DIEGO PADRES

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Eric Hosmer: The 29-year-old first baseman has been by far the Padres most consistent offensive performer, slashing .291/.340/453 with nine homers. He leads the team with 34 RBIs and 31 runs scored.
Hunter Renfroe: A 27-year-old left fielder, Renfroe was the club’s first round pick at 13th overall in the 2013 MLB Draft. He leads the team with 17  home runs and 27 extra-base hits, and is second with 33 RBIs.
Franmil Reyes: Now in his second big-league season, the 23-year-old Reyes is the club’s right fielder. He is second with 16 homers and third on the club with 28 RBIs on the season.
Wil Myers: The 28-year-old Myers has seen action at three positions this year, but lately has taken over as the regular center fielder. His 10 home runs are third on the team, while he is tied for the club lead with six stolen bases.
Fernando Tatis Jr. A 20-year-old rookie phenom, the shortstop has been on the IL since suffering a hamstring strain in late April. He begins a rehab assignment today (Monday) and his return to the big-league lineup will be determined by how he feels and performs in the coming days. He is likely to miss this series.

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Manny Machado: Phillies fans are well-acquainted with Machado following this most recent off-season. The Phillies pursued Machado aggressively, including hosting him for a day at Citizens Bank Park, when the 26-year-old superstar hit the free agent market. In the end, Machado chose San Diego, and the Phillies nailed down the other big prize of the off-season, outfielder Bryce Harper.
Machado’s deal with the Padres is for 10 years and $300 million. However, unlike Harper, who wanted a guaranteed no-trade in a 13-year deal in order to make a true home for the rest of his career, Machado’s deal has an opt out. He can opt out of the contract following the 2023 season, at which time he will be 31-years of age, and again enter the free agent market.
This season has been a disappointment. He is slashing just .251/.339/.412 with nine homers, 27 RBIs, 27 runs scored, and 16 extra-base hits. After playing almost the entire month of April as the club’s starting third baseman, the Padres shifted him to shortstop. He has played there exclusively since the end of April.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

  • Eric Lauer (LH-MON): 4-4, 4.45 ERA, 1.261 WHIP, 60 hits allowed over 58.2 IP across 11 starts with a 49/14 K:BB
  • Chris Paddack (RH-TUE): 4-3, 2.40 ERA, 0.817 WHIP, 34 hits allowed over 56.1 IP across 10 starts with a 62/12 K:BB
  • Joey Lucchesi (LH-WED): 4-3, 3.96 ERA, 1.109 WHIP, 53 hits allowed over 61.1 IP across 11 starts with a 62/15 K:BB

KEY BENCH & BULLPEN PIECES

Josh Naylor: 21-year-old rookie 1B/OF was just recently called up for the first time and has appeared in eight games. He is hitting just .207 with one homer over his first 29 big-league plate appearances. The lefty hitter was originally the first round choice of the Miami Marlins at 12th overall in the 2015 MLB Draft.
Manuel Margot: The 24-year-old has spent time as the starting center fielder, but a cold start has seen him lose playing time of late. He is slashing .231/.259/.313 with just seven extra-base hits and 13 runs scored while stealing six bags.
Kirby Yates: One of the top closers in the game today, the right-hander has allowed just 16 hits over 26 innings with 25 Saves. He sports a 1.04 ERA, 0.923 WHIP, and has a tremendous 45/8 K:BB ratio. Yates also has not surrendered a home run yet this season.
Craig Stammen: A top righty setup man who has allowed 27 hits over 30.2 innings across 28 appearances. The 35-year-old is a 10-year veteran former starter who has a 23/2 K:BB ratio.

THE SKIPPER

Andy Green is now in his fourth season at the helm in San Diego. He has a career 235-310 mark, and prior to this season the club had lost 91 or more games in each of the first three years under his guidance, finishing in last place in two of his three seasons.

THE BALLPARK

Petco Park is located in downtown San Diego, California. With a normal seating capacity of 40,209 the fans enjoy some of the most consistently nice outdoor weather conditions in all of baseball.
Petco is 334 feet down the line in left, 322 down the right field line, and 396 feet to dead center field. It is also known for having deep power alleys: 382 feet out to 391 in right-center, 357 out to 390 in left-center field. The park was actually intentionally designed to be an extreme pitcher’s park.
It opened on April 8. 2004 and hosted both the semi-finals and finals of the first World Baseball Classic back in 2006. On August 4, 2007, Barry Bonds bashed the 755th home run of his career at Petco, tying Hank Aaron‘s all-time career MLB record. The park also hosted the 2016 MLB All-Star Game.
The Western Metal Supply Company building, a hundred-year-old brick structure that had been scheduled for demolition to make way for Petco Park, was saved and incorporated into the ballpark design. It now contains the team store, private suites, a restaurant, and rooftop seating. The southeast corner of the building actually serves as the left field foul pole, and is protected by a strip of bright yellow angle iron.

SAN DIEGO SERIES WEATHER REPORT

Much as with their just-concluded series in Los Angeles, the Phillies will enjoy three days of stable, beautiful, perfect baseball weather in San Diego. High temps will be around 70 degrees each day, with game temps in the 60’s, light winds, and only a 10% chance of any type of showers.
Originally published at Phillies Nation as Phillies series opposition preview: San Diego Padres

The Flyin’ Hawaiian returns to the Philadelphia Phillies

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Shane Victorino will help out the Phillies at 2019 spring training

Six and a half years have passed since the last time ‘The Flyin’ Hawaiian’ pulled on the uniform of the Philadelphia Phillies on July 29, 2012 at Turner Field in Atlanta.

The aging Phillies dropped a 6-2 decision to their NL East Division rivals that afternoon. The defeat left them 12.5 games behind the second-place Braves and 16.5 off the pace being set by the first-place Washington Nationals.
The late Roy Halladay had taken the mound for the start that day. He would strikeout seven and walk just one over six innings and leave with the Phillies trailing by just 3-2 before the bullpen surrendered three in the 7th inning to break the game open.
The first five batters in the Phillies lineup that day were familiar to fans: Jimmy Rollins, Victorino, Chase UtleyRyan Howard and Carlos Ruiz. But all were between 31-33 years of age, beginning to push past their glorious prime years together.
Two days later, Victorino was one of the first to go in what would become a major rebuilding program that would last for more than a half-decade. He was dealt on July 31 to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitchers Josh Lindblom and Ethan Martin, as well as a player-to-be-named who turned out to be in infield prospect named Stefan Jarrin.
On that same day, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr dealt away another starting outfielder, Hunter Pence, signalling a surrender of his team for the season. The club would actually heat up, pulling within three games of the second NL Wildcard with 11 to play. But that was as close as they would get.

Victorino became the left fielder for the Dodgers, stealing 15 bases over the final third of the season for a club that finished in second place in the NL West, two games off that final Wildcard pace and just five ahead of the 81-81 Phillies.
That off-season, Victorino became a free agent for the first time. He signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the Boston Red Sox that would turn into three seasons when the Beantowners picked up his $13 million option for 2015.
In his first season with Boston, Victorino played right field. He would win his fourth career Gold Glove Award at age 33 and receive AL MVP votes as the Red Sox captured the World Series championship.
In the clinching 6-1 victory in Game 6 over the Saint Louis Cardinals, Victorino knocked in four of the runs with two hits, including a two-out, bases-clearing double to open the scoring in the bottom of the 3rd inning.
The following 2014 season was injury-riddled, with Victorino playing in just 30 games before succumbing to back surgery on August 5th. He returned in 2015 and again lost time due to a late-April hamstring injury. On July 27, 2015 the Red Sox dealt him to the Los Angeles Angels for infielder Josh Rutledge.
Victorino signed with the Chicago Cubs prior to the 2016 season and went to spring training with them. He was released at the end of spring training, but signed a minor league deal to remain with the team. He was then released by the Cubs on May 23, 2016 and that was the end of his playing career.
Last July 3rd, Victorino formally announced his retirement from Major League Baseball. On August 3rd he signed a one-day contract with the Phillies in order to retire with the team for whom he had enjoyed his greatest successes.

Victorino was originally a 6th round draft pick of the Dodgers back in 1999 out of St. Anthony High School in Wailuki, Hawaii. Three years later he was left exposed in the Rule 5 Draft and was selected by the San Diego Padres. He broke into the big-leagues with San Diego for a 36-game cup of coffee at the start of the 2003 season.
On May 23, 2003 the Padres returned him to the Dodgers, realizing that they couldn’t carry him on their big-league roster all season. The Dodgers again exposed Victorino to the Rule 5 Draft in the next off-season, and on December 13, 2004 the Phillies pounced on him.
He would make his name in Philadelphia. In 2006, Victorino split his time between all three outfield positions. Then in 2007 he became the everyday right fielder as the Phillies won the first of what would become five consecutive NL East crowns.
When Aaron Rowand left in free agency, Victorino took over in center field. He would be the starter there for the Phillies for most of the next five years, until his 2012 trade to the Dodgers. He won three straight NL Gold Glove Awards from 2008-10, and was an NL All-Star in both 2009 and 2011. He received NL MVP votes in each of the latter two seasons.

And, of course, he was leaping on top of a pile of teammates as the Phillies won the second World Series championship in franchise history on October 29, 2008. Earlier in the month his grand slam home run off Milwaukee Brewers ace C.C. Sabathia had been one of the key hits in that entire postseason.
Victorino continues to call his native Hawaii as home for much of the year. His father, Mike Victorino, was elected as the Mayor of Maui last November. Back in November, Robert Collias at The Maui News asked Victorino what has become his focus in retirement:
Watching my children grow up, getting that opportunity as a father, to not have to worry about that 9-to-5 grind every day, but to have an opportunity to help be a part of their lives and their upbringing, basically be there for moral support.
Shane Victorino joined the Phillies today as a guest instructor. This is his first time in uniform since he left the Phillies in 2012.

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And now, for the first time since he pulled his uniform off on that late-July day nearly six years ago, Victorino will don a full Phillies uniform and take the field. He joins a long list of former Phillies players who have helped the team prepare this season including former 2008 World Series-winning teammates Jimmy Rollins and Chad Durbin.

When it was first announced back in mid-February that Victorino would be helping out at spring training this year, Tim Klepac at 12up described well what the Phillies hope to get from him: “Victorino’s relaxing demeanor is infectious and the front office hopes that will carry into their clubhouse in March.”
Originally published at Phillies Nation as Shane Victorino back in a Phillies uniform

Manny Machado reportedly opts to stay in the SoCal sun – in San Diego

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Machado will be playing in the SoCal sun for years to come

According to a number of reliable sources, the San Diego Padres have come to an agreement with free agent infielder Manny Machado.

The deal is reportedly for 10 years and $300 million, which would make it the largest total dollar value guaranteed contract in American sports history. There is also reportedly a player opt-out after the fifth year in the deal.
This deal also pushes the Padres, who entered the pursuit late in the off-season as a “mystery team”, over the $100 million total salary mark for the first time in franchise history.
With top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr considered nearly ready at shortstop, the Padres could either play Machado at third base and go with Luis Urias at short for now, or begin 2019 with Machado at short until Tatis is ready.
The Phillies were considered an early favorite for Machado, who met with club officials back in December at Citizens Bank Park. Despite both sides saying all of the right polite things, nothing seemed to ever get close between the Phillies and Machado.
The Chicago White Sox were considered co-favorites for Machado’s services at one point. The Chisox added Machado’s brother-in-law, Yonder Alonso, and signed their workout partner Jon Jay in order to help lure the free agent. Chicago reportedly had a seven-year, $175-million dollar offer on the table for the infielder and were confident in their chances.
Don’t be surprised if the White Sox now shift their full focus and resources into a battle with the Phillies in trying to lure Bryce Harper, with the San Francisco Giants and his former Washington Nationals team also still in the hunt.
The Machado contract is certainly going to establish a base in Harper negotiations. It would not be surprising to see the outfielder get something along the lines of a 10-year deal worth between $325-350 million with a similar opt-out.
Robert Raiola, CPA and Director of Sports & Entertainment for the PKF O’Connor Davies accounting and advisory firm speculated just yesterday that such a large contract for both Machado and Harper would likely contain language to protect it from high California taxation.
On Harper/Machado::

Both players will ask for large signing bonus'(SB) as part of contracts. Both players rep live in no tax state. If proper language is included in contracts,(sb) will not be taxed in state where team is based

Deferred comp will likely be part of both deals.

You might ask why a player such as Machado would want to sign long-term with an organization such as the Padres? It’s a logical question, since San Diego has been a perennial loser since entering Major League Baseball as part of the 1969 expansion.
The Padres have participate in 50 seasons and have reached the postseason just five times, during each of the five seasons in which they have won the NL West crown: 1984, 1996, 1998, and 2005-06. The team has experienced just 14 winning campaigns, and has finished with a losing record for the last eight years. Last season, the Padres finished at 66-96 and in the division basement for the second time in three years.
But the San Diego executive team led by chairman Ron Fowler, general partner Peter Seidler, and executive vice-president A.J. Preller are committed to changing the perception of the club. The Padres were recently ranked by Baseball America as having the top minor league talent in the game.
They made an initial splash one year ago when they lured veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer with an eight-year, $144 million free agent contract that lasts through 2015. Earlier this off-season the Padres added veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler with a two-year, $8 million deal.
For the Phillies, this means that all of their eggs are now in one basket. Despite the proclamations of management that the off-season is a success without landing one of the two biggest names, that is not how the fan base sees it. If the Phillies now fail to finalize a deal with Harper they can expect considerable backlash from those fans.

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“One thing’s for sure, Harper is going to get more than Machado.”

With Manny Machado off the board, @JimBowdenGM predicts Bryce Harper’s potential contract and destination.

The pressure is now on, and the focus now appears clearly on one prize, the top prize: Bryce Harper. There will be increased competition from at least the White Sox. It is now time for the Phillies ownership and management to put up or shut up and bag the big game name in what has been an agonizingly lengthy off-season free agent hunt.
Originally published at Phillies Nation as BREAKING: Padres reportedly land Manny Machado

If J.T. Realmuto comes to the Phillies it will cost them top prospect Sixto Sanchez

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J.T. Realmuto is considered the top catcher in baseball today

It has been reported for days now that the Philadelphia Phillies have become one of a number of teams talking to the Miami Marlins regarding a trade for all-star J.T. Realmuto.

The catcher will turn 28-years-old on March 18, right in the middle of spring training. An Oklahoma native, Realmuto was the Marlins choice in the third round of the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft out of high school.
He reached Major League Baseball for a cup of coffee with the Fish in the 2010 season, and then became the club’s starting catcher the following season.
Last season, Realmuto emerged as a National League all-star for the first time, won the NL Silver Slugger Award for catchers, and became universally regarded as the top backstop in the game.

His numbers during that 2018 campaign included a .277/.340/.484 slash line with 21 home runs, 74 RBI, 74 RBI. It was his third consecutive season producing 30 or more doubles. Fangraphs statistical compilations reveal him to also be one of the top defensive catchers in the game today.
This afternoon, Marlins insider Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reported that in order to actually land Realmuto, the Phillies would have to include top prospect Sixto Sanchez in any deal.

Though it was unable to be confirmed by Frisaro, it is also believed that the Marlins would want catcher Jorge Alfaro as part of the package. Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill and CEO Derek Jeter are believed to be examining the Phillies minor league system for a possible third piece to the return package.
Frisaro reports that Miami would ideally like to get a deal done before their pitchers and catchers report for spring training on February 13.
However, he also notes that all players on the club’s 40-man roster are required to attend Marlins Fest, which is scheduled for this coming Saturday and “it would be uncomfortable to have Realmuto at the ballpark if he is on the verge of being traded.
Realmuto is signed through 2020, so the Phillies would have him for at least two full seasons. They would almost assuredly try to extend that deal by at least a couple of years at some point. The San Diego Padres reportedly made a formal request to speak with Realmuto’s agent Jeff Berry regarding an extension prior to their own trade talks, a request that was denied by Miami. Any such talks would happen after the catcher is in a Phillies uniform.

A deal for Realmuto would likely not be the last move by the Phillies, who are still front-runners for the services of free agent superstars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. A Realmuto trade might actually be a signal that the club truly believes that they are going to land one of the young free agent studs and will be going all-in to contend right away in the coming season.
If that is indeed the plan and the Phillies feel sure that they will acquire one of the big fishes, then adding this particular Fish star makes sense. Sanchez is indeed an elite prospect, but the Phillies would be getting the top catcher in all of baseball in the prime of his career.
The Cincinnati Reds are reportedly one of the other major players in a Realmuto deal with Miami. Assuming Frisaro is correct in his timing on such a deal, you can expect something will come together quickly. And with the Phillies scheduled to officially open their own spring training camp next week, we should be getting a lot of big, important news very soon.