Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Rotation in Limbo

Today, I make sense of the whirlwind of roster moves the Phillies made over the last 36 hours. I’ll start with a summary:
  • Sean O'Sullivan (1-6, 6.08 ERA; 0-3, 10.88 ERA in last 8) has been out-righted off 40-Man; he can elect free-agency or report to AAA.
  • Hector Neris has been recalled from AAA, at least until Saturday, when David Buchannan will rejoin the rotation after ineffectiveness & injury.
  • Kevin Correia (0-3, 6.56 ERA; 0 quality starts) has been designated for assignment & Severino Gonzalez has been recalled once again to fill his spot.
  • 2014 1st-Rd pick Aaron Nola (3-0, 2.28 ERA @ AAA) is likely to debut shortly following his appearance at Sunday’s Futures Game.
  • To fill Gonzlaez’s spot in AAA, the Phillies finally promoted 2010 1st-rounder Jesse Biddle after a career 4.18 ERA in parts of 3 years in AA (7-2, 4.34 ERA this season).


Out with the old, in with the new as the aging veterans are sent down/ away and the younger guys move up. The veterans in the rotation, except for Hamels & Harang, have struggled to hold the fort as the younger guys develop. Many were injured, but the ones who largely remained healthy have not gotten past inning 5 most of the time. This put tremendous strain on the bullpen: getting a fresh arm in the is part of the reason for these moves. This rotation shake-up is great for the Phillies’ future – time to start evaluating all these players for 2016 & beyond.

Buchannan is back after a rough first-half of the year. Gonzalez has struggled in limited action in the bigs this year, but being a rookie & constantly shuttled back-and-forth hasn’t helped much. Biddle has had a rollercoaster-style development, but his lack of control (high BB-rate) & mental issues have held him at AA the last few years despite skipping Lakewood. Although, I do think Rube made some bad decisions: not considering lack of run support as a possible reason for his 5-14 record in ’13. He’s still off (good record, highish ERA) but I think he’s had enough tests in AA. Nola is very close. Some minor kinks (shortening his at-bats plus solving his road ERA differential I mentioned two weeks ago) to work out this month, but if he can do well in the Futures game and have most of his July starts w/ 6.1 IP or more, expect him at the majors in late-July/ early Aug.

In other news, congrats go out - once again - to Maikel Franco on his selection as the NL Rookie of the Month for June. Further congrats to Jon Papelbon upon being selected as lone Phillie representative to the All-Star game. The Phillies recently signed Dominican Slugger Jhailyn Ortiz for $4.5MM bonus and traded two A-level pitching prospects to the D'Backs for the No. 1 slot – in order to avoid a stiff penalty. And Chase Utley is on the 15-Day DL w/ ankle issues and not expected to return until late-month. Not too long ago, Amaro said that Chase will be second on the depth chart behind Hernandez upon his return. Another #RuinTomorrowMoment by the Phils’ GM.

Next entry is likely to be the projections on Jesse Biddle, and I may have updated projections on Nola based on his AAA numbers. I may also have an All-Star festivities recap, including Nola’s & Crawford’s Futures game performances.

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