Thursday, July 17, 2014

First Half Grades; Trade Deadline & 2nd Half Outlook

The Phillies are about ten games under .500 and about ten games back of both the division crown & wild card spots. While many of the players want to stay and think they can win at least 44 of the next 67 games in order to reach the postseason... I don't think they can. This team's inconsistent play, especially on offense, is their Achillies heel (sorry for the reference, Howard). I'm finally convinced that the Phillies are not contenders. Thus, it is time to sell off a few pieces at the deadline & spend the next two years rebuilding through trades & player development.

I say two years is a reasonable estimate for the rebuild as we'll have Hamels (prob.), Nola, Biddle, Morgan, Pettibone, Buchannan; Crawford, Hernandez, Ruf, Brown (poss.), Revere (poss.), Rollins (poss.), Utley (prob.), Asche, Franco, Rupp, Joseph, Valle (poss.), Galvis; Bastardo (poss.) Giles, Diekman, Martin, Gonzalez, and De Fratus in the majors or a half-year away from the majors at the two-year mark. Many of the prospects, so far, have either panned out or are in the "so far, so good" category. And many experts seem to agree, putting our farm system in the middle of the pack and improving. There is definitely even more room for improvement, which includes better scouting through incr. use of advanced stats (OBP, WAR, BABIP, SIERRA, (x)FIP, etc.) and getting back into the intl market (think Franco, Chooch, Bastardo, & Gonzalez).

I hope that circumstances allow for a slow & steady rebuild over the next two years... and I think they might. The big contracts dwindle at the same time that players in the minors appear to be ready to replace them: Crawford for Rollins via Galvis & Hernandez; Buchannan for Kendrick. It is my hope that Sandberg's contract is renewed in two years: he will probably have three loosing seasons to start his big league managerial career... but I think that is more on Rube than Ryne. Anyway, enough of this overview... I'm going to grade the team:

  • Offense: F+/D-
    • The offense has been inconsistent throughout the year, although an occasional flash of brilliance. They're hitting .229 w/ RISP (worst since 1972) & have a .300 OBP & .362 SLG.
  • Pitching: B
    • Both the rotation & bullpen have improved between the 1st two quarters. The rotation has a 3.99 ERA - a bit less due to loss of Lee & lack of early-in-game run support (trying to be too perfect). The bullpen has finally come around, evidenced by its 2.74 ERA in the 2nd quarter & 9.27 K/9 ratio overall.
  • Team Grade: D
Projected Final Record: 74-88 (currently on-pace for 71-91 record)