September Call-Up Preview

Tomorrow is the first day of the utter madness that is September baseball. For better or worse, in-game strategy is thrown on its head for the final month of the regular season due to active rosters expanding from 25 roster spots to 40. For a rebuilding team like the Phillies, this can be an exciting time as it often means prospects will be called up for their first taste of the major leagues. This year, however, due to trades and starting rotation woes, most of the Phillies’ would-be September call-ups — Jerad Eickhoff, Alec Asher, Darnell Sweeney, Aaron Altherr — are already wearing red pinstripes.

As a result, Phillies beats writers indicated that the September call-up list tomorrow will be relatively small.

Mackanin said there will probably be 3 players called up when rosters expand tomorrow w/1-2 more brought up after minor league season ends.

— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) August 31, 2015

Given that the Phillies already have players competing with each other for playing time in the infield (primarly Sweeney and Cesar Hernandez) and outfield (Altherr, Odubel Herrera, Cody Asche, Domonic Brown, and Jeff Francoeur) expect call-ups this month to consist primarily if not exclusively of pitchers and perhaps a third catcher.

The Candidates

Third catcher — Adding a third catcher for September is a luxury most teams embrace as it provides greater in-game roster flexibility. For example, with a third catcher on the bench, the Phillies will be able to get Cameron Rupp extra at-bats as a pinch hitter during games started by Carlos Ruiz without using up their only extra catcher. The two main candidates for this roster spot are fringe prospect Gabriel Lino and former-Phillie Erik Kratz.

Lino is a 22-year-old catcher acquired from Baltimore in the 2012 Jim Thome trade who found success at Double-A Reading this season batting .266/.333/.431 in 32 games before hitting a brick wall after his midseason promotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley (191 PA, .217/.247/.272). If Lino gets the nod, it will be because they want to add him to the 40-man to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.

The more likely Iron Pig to join the Phillies is Erik Kratz. Kratz has been living out of a suitcase this season — he made the opening day roster for the Kansas City Royals, was claimed on waivers by the Boston Red Sox and released a week later, signed with the Seattle Mariners, was released two weeks later and then signed a minor league deal with the Phillies on July 17th. In a month and a half with Lehigh Valey, he’s batting an impressive .284/.402/.527 through 92 plate appearances.

Prediction: Welcome back to Philly, Erik “Turkey Bacon” Kratz.

Pitchers — Judging by Montemurro’s tweet, if the Phillies add a catcher as I expect, they presumably expect to promote two pitchers tomorrow. There are three primary candidates for those spots, all of whom are already on the 40-man roster and none of whom are terribly surprising or exciting: Dalier Hinojosa, Ken Roberts, and Nefi Ogando.

Hinojosa has already done a brief stint for the Phillies with impressive results (5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K). The 29-year-old Cuban’s stat line for Lehigh Valley has been less impressive — 13 IP, 14 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 5 BB, 13 K — although 7 of his 8 runs allowed came over just two outings.

The Phillies claimed 27-year-old lefty reliever Ken Roberts off waivers from the Colorado Rockies on Sunday. Roberts hasn’t been terribly successful in either Triple-A (31.2 IP, 5.12 ERA, 19.9 K%, 2.8 BB%) or Colorado (9.1 IP, 5.79 ERA, 11.6 K%, 4.7 BB%) this season but his current status as the only healthy lefty reliever on the 40-man other than Adam Loewen gives him an inside track on a roster spot.

Ogando is the baby of this trio at age 26. He was with the Phillies over the weekend, but failed to log any innings. He’s a flame thrower with a promising slider, but control issues. His stat line across Double-A and Triple-A this season: 59 IP, 3.05 ERA, 20.1 K%, 11.8 BB%.

Prediction: If you’d asked me this morning, I would have expected all three of these arms to be called up tomorrow or soon thereafter. Roberts is the lock due to the need for lefty arms and a strong case can be made for both Hinojosa (ability to throw multiple innings) and Ogando (still a fringe prospect). If they really do promote just two pitchers as reports seem to indicate, drawing the names Hinojosa or Ogando out of a hat would be as good a guess as any.

Delayed call-ups — As Montemurro’s tweet indicates, another player or two could join the Phillies after the completion of the minor league season. It makes sense that the player(s) to which this refers are with Double-A Reading given the fact that the Reading squad is currently headed for postseason play and the likelihood that they intend to keep that roster in tact as a result. The key prospects in Reading — J.P. Crawford, Nick Williams, Jake Thompson, Zach Eflin, and Andrew Knapp — are a) still developing and b) not Rule 5 eligible this offseason; therefore, they are highly unlikely to be given a 40-man spot at this time. The names to keep an eye on instead: Edubray Ramos and Jimmy Cordero.

Both Ramos (age 22) and Cordero (age 23) are Rule 5 eligible this season and likely candidates to be added to the 40-man roster. Ramos had a stellar start to his 2015 season in Hi-A Clearwater (49.1 IP, 1.46 ERA, 26.0 K%, 3.3 BB%) but has struggled with his control since his promotion to Reading (17.1 IP, 3.63 ERA, 18.7 K%, 12.0 BB%). Cordero came over from Toronto in the Ben Revere deal and has been lighting up the radar gun regularly with 100+ MPH fastballs while putting up an impressive stat line (14 IP, 2.57 ERA, 21.8 K%, 7.3 BB%).

Prediction: Jimmy Cordero. I saw both Cordero and Ramos pitch in a Reading game earlier this month and Cordero looked polished whereas Ramos’ control issues were glaring. If called up, Cordero is likely to be the most interesting September addition for the Phillies.

The Fallen

Let’s take a brief moment to mourn the September call-ups that should have been. Kelly Dugan turns 25 next month and has just one option year remaining. Once again an inability to remain healthy shortened his season with his 2015 debut not coming until June due to a stress fracture in his right foot. After putting up impressive numbers throughout his minor league career, he put up a BABIP-inflated, powerless slash line in Reading (192 PA, .315/.391/.393) before stumbling mightily in Triple-A (113 PA, .198/.268/.287). Next year is likely the last chance for Dugan in the Phillies organization.

Believe it or not, Tommy Joseph just turned 24 last month, but his prospect status is all but gone. Concussions forced him off catcher this year and for the past two weeks he’s been playing first base for the Iron Pigs. Like Dugan he has one remaining option year and his opportunities with the Phillies organization are quickly drawing to a close.

Long shot names

A few other guys who could be on the Phillies September radar include Rule 5 eligible reliever Colton Murray, starting pitchers that you may have heard of previously such as David Buchanan or Severino Gonzalez, and Reading left-handed starting pitcher, Joely Rodriguez, who could be used in relief if necessary. Rodriguez came over from Pittsburgh in the Antonio Bastardo and is already on the 40-man roster.

September Call-Up Preview
Author: Corinne Landrey
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The Tediously Boring Closer

Occasionally on baseball blogs with an analytical slant, it’s necessary to dive into the mundane and boring and, as luck would have it, the Phillies employ one of the most boring players in the sport. I’ll try to make this as quick and painless as possible, but it’s time to acknowledge the tediously dull performance of the Phillies freshly anointed closer, Ken Giles.

Over the weekend, Giles pitched yet another scoreless innings to bring his season ERA down to a minuscule 1.53 which puts him 2nd among NL relievers in a very tight race.

Name Team ERA
Trevor Rosenthal STL 1.52
Ken Giles PHI 1.53
Hector Rondon CHC 1.55
Jeurys Familia NYM 1.67
Mark Melancon PIT 1.71
J.J. Hoover CIN 1.71

In thirteen appearances since the Jonathan Papelbon moved Giles into the closer role for the Phillies, Giles has allowed multiple baserunners just three times and in five of those games he failed to let even a single batter reach base! Where’s the drama?! Where’s the excitement?!

I’m just old enough to remember the Mitch Williams years and I vividly remember clutching a pillow to my chest every time he took the mound. I sat there glued to the edge of my seat, wondering how he could ever escape the mess he’d inevitably create. Seemingly without fail he’d allow multiple baserunners and make the game exciting! That’s what a real closer looks like. Gosh, Kenny, make us sweat a little bit.

It’s hard to remember now, but there was a brief period of time where Ken Giles mercifully brought a bit of intrigue to his appearances. In April and May, Giles’ walk rate sky-rocketed, his strikeout-rate plummeted and he gave up a plethora of hard contact.

Ken Giles 2014 Season April-May 2015
K% 38.6% 21.9%
BB% 6.6% 10.4%
Contact% 68.0% 76.5%
XBH 8 7
BF 166 96

At the time, I attributed his struggles to a precipitous velocity decline, a corresponding increase in contact and a decreasing ability to throw strikes. Since June 1st, however, his velocity has soared back towards his 2014 levels.

Giles Velo as of 8-31-15

Unfortunately for fans who like actual entertainment, his dull, predictable in-game results have returned.

Ken Giles 2014 Season June 2015 – present
K% 38.6% 34.0%
BB% 6.6% 7.2%
Contact% 68.0% 67.4%
XBH 8 2
BF 166 153

Despite a rocky start to his 2015 season, Ken Giles has safely secured his spot in the upper echelon of relief pitchers. Now that he’s racking up saves in addition to strikeouts and scoreless innings, his stock will continue to soar. Yes, I’m sorry to say, this means the 9th inning will primarily remain drama-free in Philadelphia for the time being.

When you find yourself in need of some 9th inning entertainment, allow me to recommend closers Greg Holland (Kansas City, 13.3 BB%) or Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay, 1.39 WHIP) or Santiago Casilla (San Fransisco, 1.39 WHIP). Now those are guys who know how to keep a fan engaged in the game.

Of course, if you’re one of those weirdos who finds blazing 98+ MPH fastballs cool or enjoys watching elite relievers make major league hitters look foolish with wipeout sliders, well, Ken Giles is your man.

The Tediously Boring Closer
Author: Corinne Landrey
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Phillies fans continue to make the best plays on foul balls

A Philadelphia Phillies fan makes a nice barehanded snag on a foul ball at Citizens Bank Park.Bam.Please follow us on Twitter for exclusive stories, Like us on Facebook, Or return home for award winning writing.

Phillies fans continue to make the best plays on foul balls
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Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets – Amazin' Avenue

Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets
Amazin’ Avenue
After three tough games against Boston, the Mets will stay home this week and play three more against the Phillies. Just like we said last week, Philadelphia has been a decent team since the All-Star break, but that didn’t stop the blue and orange

Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets – Amazin' Avenue
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Phillies have score to settle with Mets starting tonight

Eickhoff will start off this series with the Phillies against the Mets

The Phillies travel to NY for a three game series against the Mets and just last week, the Mets swept the Phils in 4 games in front of the hometown crowd. It was the first time since 2002, that the Phillies were swept by the Mets in a 4-game series at home.

Do you think that the Phillies have a score to settle with this Mets team?

The Phils have an awful 1-12 record against the NY Mets in 2015, in other words this Mets team has owned the Phillies this year.

Here’s all 13 games that the Phils have played against the Mets:

Date Opp RS RA W L Win Loss
2015-04-13 @ New York Mets L 0 2 0 1 J. deGrom A. Harang
2015-04-14 @ New York Mets L 5 6 0 2 M. Harvey D. Buchanan
2015-04-15 @ New York Mets L 1 6 0 3 J. Niese J. Williams
2015-05-08 New York Mets W 3 1 1 3 C. Hamels M. Harvey
2015-05-09 New York Mets L 2 3 1 4 J. Niese A. Harang
2015-05-10 New York Mets L 4 7 1 5 B. Colon C. Billingsley
2015-05-25 @ New York Mets L 3 6 1 6 B. Colon E. Araujo
2015-05-26 @ New York Mets L 4 5 1 7 J. Familia J. Gomez
2015-05-27 @ New York Mets L 0 7 1 8 N. Syndergaard S. O’Sullivan
2015-08-24 New York Mets L 7 16 1 9 S. Gilmartin H. Neris
2015-08-25 New York Mets L 5 6 1 10 N. Syndergaard J. Williams
2015-08-26 New York Mets L 4 9 1 11 B. Colon J. Eickhoff
2015-08-27 New York Mets L 5 9 1 12 C. Torres H. Neris
For 2015, PHI won 1, NYM won 12.
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/31/2015.

The one lone win against the Mets this year came way back in May when Cole Hamels got the win over the Mets ‘Dark Knight’,  Matt Harvey.

The Phils will be throwing Eickhoff, Harang, and Nola at the Mets, while the Mets will counter with Colon, Niese, and Harvey.

Phillies have score to settle with Mets starting tonight
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Asher is 5th pitcher to make MLB debut, a Phillies record

The 2015 Phillies have made history on many fronts, but the other night when Alec Asher took the mound to start off a game for the Phillies, that broke a record of having the 5th debut of a Major League starter lead off the game on the mound for the Phillies.

Asher, who had Tommy John surgery at the age of 14, arrived to the Phillies via the Cole Hamels trade with Texas. He and fellow Texas Ranger minor leaguer (also acquired in the Hamels/Rangers trade), Jerad Eickhoff, were two of the Phillies to make their debuts in 2015.

The 5 to make their debut on the mound with the Phillies:

1. 2015: 5x, Severino Gonzalez, Adam Morgan, Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff & Alec Asher

T2. 1996: 4x, Rich Hunter, Carlos Crawford, Rafael Quirico & Matt Beech

1986: 4x, Mike Maddux, Bruce Ruffin, Jeff Bittiger & Marvin Freeman

1902: 4x, Bill Wolfe, Bill Salisbury, Ham Iburg & Jesse Whiting

Those stats are courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau.

Asher is 5th pitcher to make MLB debut, a Phillies record
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Changing face of the Phillies with September call-ups

Alright the Phillies rebuild is in full swing, a few of the old guard Phillies have gone and are playing with new teams, and the Phils have ended up with some prospects and some of them have made their way on to the Phillies team this year.

September 1st is around the corner, wait, it’s tomorrow! That can only mean that we’ll see more new players as the Major Leagues expand their rosters to 40 players from the current 25 so we’ll be seeing a lot more new faces.

With some of the players that we’ve already seen, there is a concern that a few of them might go the way that Darin Ruf has been treated by this organization. Ruf has seen his career go up and down like a yo-yo with the way the Phillies went through a spell of thinking that John Mayberry Jr and Domonic Brown had a future (and the big man at first base, Ryan Howard) on this team.

Ruf proved that he was ready for the Majors many times of the last few years, and now he’s past his prime of where he was when he was hitting home runs like crazy. He broke Ryan Howard’s record of home runs hit in the Eastern League in 2012, then later went down to the winter Venezuelan League and did the same thing, hit home runs. The Phils used him sporadically in 2013 but it wasn’t enough for him to get a feel for the team.

Now the Phillies seem to have a few good prospects, but what will they do with them?

Changing face of the Phillies with September call-ups
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Cameron Rupp makes history at plate, then gets lesson that Phillies never were … – NJ.com


NJ.com
Cameron Rupp makes history at plate, then gets lesson that Phillies never were
NJ.com
PHILADELPHIAPhillies catcher Cameron Rupp made some history Sunday by hitting another home run, and it was a 401-foot, second-inning, opposite-field bomb to right-center off San Diego Padres ace James Shields. Afterward, the receiver received a …
Sweeney makes case for more playing time in Phillies win over PadresPhilly.com
Shields leads Padres past Phillies 9-4CBSSports.com
Instant Replay: Phillies 4, Padres 3Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia

all 281 news articles »

Cameron Rupp makes history at plate, then gets lesson that Phillies never were … – NJ.com
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Asher's debut spoiled by Padres

View image | gettyimages.com For the eighth time this season, and fifth for a starting pitcher, a new member of the Phillies took the field for his major-league debut. This was Alec Asher, joining three other rookies in the Phillies rotation, as a first-time starter in the majors. It wasn’t…

Asher's debut spoiled by Padres
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Howard + Ruf = Good First Baseman

Ryan Howard vs. RHP 2015: .273/.839, 111 G, 41 R, 25 DBL, 18 HR, 62 RBI
Ryan Howard vs. RHP Career: .285./.944, 1320 G, 202 DBL, 14 TRPL, 265 HR, 813 RBI

Darin Ruf vs. LHP 2015: .365/1.011, 36 G, 11 R, 4 DBL, 4 HR, 12 RBI
Darin Ruf vs. LHP Career: .291/.897, 112 G, 32 R, 12 DBL, 12 HR, 32 RBI

Ruf’s OPS against LHP is .222 better than against RHP in his career.  Howard’s OPS against RHP is .227 better than against LHP.  A straight platoon seems like the obvious answer, and interim manager Pete Mackanin has been doing that for the most part over the past month of so.  If this plan is carried through with fidelity next season, I would be surprised to see excellent overall production from 1st base in 2016.

Howard + Ruf = Good First Baseman
Author: GM-Carson
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