Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead Analyst) Follow @chuckbooth3024
Follow The MLB Reports On Twitter Follow @mlbreports
I was lucky enough to watch a record 224 MLB Games live last year – spread across all 30 MLB parks in every day of the campaign last season.
Unfortunately I saw the most home games (33 Games) in Philadelphia with my brother living close by. There is nothing wrong with Citizens Ball Park, it was the team that was tough to watch.
When you have Jeff Francouer as your #4 hitter for half of the year, there is something wrong with that. I love the guy, and Frenchy had a decent year, it just said a lot about the depth of the Roster in 2015.
At the end of the year Philadelphia’s management started to trade away Veterans from the glory days of the World Series, and you can start to see the healing begin.
The dealing continued with Ken Giles sent to Texas for a bunch of stud arms coming back. Now the Phillies are looking forward to a bunch of young talent coming to the big leagues in the next few seasons.
He is also untradeable with a $23 MIL Team Option that comes with a $10 MIL Buyout. Unless the Phils eat a huge portion of the money, no one will touch a guy that makes a guaranteed $35 MIL with that pending Buyout.
New GM Matt Klentak also has made a couple of nice moves in bring in Veteran Starting Pitchers Jeremy Hellickson and Charlie Morton in separate deals. With will help stem the tide until some of their new and old prospects have more time to season in the Minors.
The Starters that came over for the Astros trade may all see time pitching with the 2016 Phillies. Brett Oberholtzer and Vincent Velasquez are listed on the Starter Depth Chart already, and former #1 overall pick Mark Appel could make his Major League debut next campaign.
Hellickson and Morton are listed as the #1 and #2 pitchers, with Aaron Nola at #3. Jerad Eickhoff as #5, and Adam Morgan as #7. Matt Harrison is also being paid by the club, however he has only started 9 games over the last 3 years and simply can’t be counted on to remain healthy for the team.
Last year, Nola led all Phillies starters with 7 wins, yet another reason why 2015 was such a catastrophe.
The club will need better efforts in 2016 – to avoid losing close to 100 games.
The club could even give Dalier Hinojosa, who after being plucked off of waivers from Boston, finished the 24 games and 19.2 Frames worth of work into a 0.73 ERA in the final few months.
With at least some depth in the rotation in terms of arms, some may be put in the Bullpen to start as well.
Working with the chuckers in 2016 will be the catching tandem of Carlos Ruiz and Cameron Rupp once again. In the future years, the brass is hoping that prospect Jorge Alfaro can work his way through the Minor Leagues and make his way to the Majors.
Ruiz has a $4.5 MIL Team Option left in 2017, but I highly doubt the club will even balk at that if he brings forth another .575 OPS as he did last year. Rupp at least had 9 HRs and 28 RBI among his .675 OPS. Both backstoppers are below league averages.
Howard and Darin Ruf will split time at 1B. Maybe 2016 will finally be the year that Ruf gets a solid look as an everyday player. The man has bashed 32 HRs in just 654 AB – and a decent .768 OPS in those totals.
Ruf had 8 HRs and 25 RBI in only 137 AB after the ALL – Star Game. Whether he is at First Base or in the Outfield, this guy should have the chance for a full year.
The franchise finally said goodbye to Domonic Brown over the early parts of the offseason. This was the right move after the 2013 ALL – Star turned in back to back years of just a .634 OPS – after a nice .818 mark in 2013, when he crushed 20 HRs prior to the midsummer classic.
Peter Bourjos was picked off waivers by the Phils from the Cardinals earlier this month. This is a decent signing too. The 6 year veteran can play all 3 Outfield positions and is well above average defensively.
I am not sure he will ever be as good as his 2011 season with the Angels, but he is just holding the fort down until some prospects can emerge for Philly.
Odubel Herrera took over most of the Leadoff duties when Ben Revere was traded The rookie hit for a decent .297/.344/.418 with 30 Doubles and 16 Stolen Bases. These are decent numbers for a 1st year player. His post ALL – Star totals are even more impressive with a .329/.385/.440 3 Slash.
Aaron Altherr I saw personally destroy the Nationals late in the season, in a game where he blasted 2 Homers and a double off of the wall. I believe he and Herrera are keepers for the club to build around. Both enter the 2016 season as 24 year olds.
Cody Asche is a utility player that may work out good in this capacity in going forward. He can play 3B and either corner Outfield position. He looked to be lost in 2015 – and was replaced by Maikel Franco at the hot corner in June.
Much like some of the other players, he fashioned a better 2nd half in 2015. He clubbed 21 Extra Base Hits and a .739 OPS in 185 AB after the Break. At just being 25 right now, perhaps he will finally live up to expectations by the club.
Andres Blanco also found a nice role with the club as a Utility player. He hit for a .863 OPS in 233 AB – and can crush LHP – where he brought forth a .974 OPS. He can play 3B/SS or 2B. This guy may be a perfect trade piece in the next year, and particularly if he can keep this kind of production up.
Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis round out the Infielders, but are not huge offensive threats. They are both 25 – so I suppose they can improve in that regard, but this may be an audition for them to be in the lineup much past this upcoming year. J.P. Crawford is coming up the Minor as a highly regarding SS.
Maikel Franco had a great start to his career in 2015 before battling the injury bug in the last few months. In just a half season he batted for an .840 OPS with 14 HRs, 22 Doubles and drove in 50 Runs. He could double those totals in 2016 with a full year.
This is another development year – so the team should look to trade pending Free Agents Ruiz, Hellickson, Morton, Gomez, Bourjos and Hernandez in July, and keep replenishing the Minor League System. Ruiz and Morton both have Team Options for 2017, but could be bought out for $1 MIL and 500K each, so that wouldn’t deter a club for picking up their services.
I think the Phillies will be a little bit better in 2016 during the 1st four months, however they should struggle in the last few months if they trade away the veterans they should.
I project 95 – 100 losses for them again in 2016.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
I am happy to be back at the helm of the MLB Reports, after completing my record 224 Games in the MLB Trip in 2015. It was the 4th time I have seen all 30 MLB Parks since 2008.
During that time away I was fortunate to do 100 Media Interviews and be named the Baseball Blogger Alliance President.
To Subscribe and listen daily to ‘Our Lead Personality’ Sully’s 20 Minutes Daily (every day since Oct.24, 2012) Podcast click here. Guaranteed listening to the Sully Baseball Daily Podcast will be the best time you invest in online!
2016 MLB Previews: Team Salaries + SOTUs (MLB Teams State Of The Unions) Links Page here.
ports On Twitter Follow @mlbreports