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Phillies 2014 Non-Roster Invitee Preview: Starters

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, February 12, 2014 10:23 PM Comments: 3

With pitchers and catchers starting tomorrow, what better time than now to preview the starting pitchers that are non-roster invitees to Phillies camp?

Ian thinks Biddle will be a Phillie some time in 2014. Photo by: Jay Floyd

The Mega Prospect

Jesse Biddle

Ranked 40th by Marc Hulet of FanGraphs, 77th by Keith Law, and 53rd by MLB.com, Germantown Friends’ left-hander Jesse Biddle will be a name on everyone’s horizon in 2014. The 2010 first round pick turns just 23 in October 2014 and is in big league camp for the very first time. In his first nine games at Double-A Reading in 2013, Biddle posted a 2.50 ERA with a .140 BAA, dominating hitters with 10.72 K/9 IP. From the tenth start on, Biddle battled injury and ineffectiveness to post a 4.20 ERA over the remaining stretch of the season. Biddle’s final line (3.59 ERA, .210 BAA) was solid but some dings and nicks had some folks worried about the end of Biddle’s 2013 season.

In 2014, Biddle, last year’s Prospect Nation’s number one prospect, will get a shot to go deep into camp, with a relatively open #5 spot open in the rotation. Biddle is a relative long shot to make the Phillies out of training camp but considering his competition, Roberto Hernandez, Jonathan Pettibone, and Miguel Gonzalez, he may be able to make a surprisingly strong case to see big league time.

Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: C-. At 22, Biddle is very, very young. But Biddle showed some success in Double-A Reading even through minor injuries and finished with a career-high in starts and a solid stat line. There are a few scenarios where Biddle could make the team out of Spring Training, particularly involving injuries. It’s a small shot but Biddle has a chance.

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2014: B+. I think Biddle will see time with the Phillies in September if not sooner. The talent is real and the ceiling is greater than Hernandez and Pettibone. The Phillies used ten starters in 2013. Biddle right now sits at about seven or eighth on the Phillies starter depth chart. I think he will get the call in 2014, even for a cameo.

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Phillies Non-Roster Invitee 2014 Preview: Relievers

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, February 11, 2014 06:18 PM Comments: 4

Since officially joining Phillies Nation in 2011, I have had the pleasure of providing previews of the non-rostered players that will be joining the Phillies in Spring Training. This year’s crop of players feature a large group of young players, including some of the Phillies top prospects. With pitchers and catchers reporting on Thursday, we will start this year’s fun with the relievers.

The qualifications for the group we’re looking at are as follows: the non-roster invitee in question must have served primarily as a reliever during last season. The Phillies used 19 pitchers in relief last year, not including the pitching cameos by infielder John McDonald and outfielder Casper Wells, meaning 13 players not on the Opening Day roster pitched in relief in 2013. The Phillies have 15 relievers on their 40 man right now meaning that if the Phillies use pitchers at the same rate as last season, four of the players listed below may see some time in the Majors in 2014.

Will Camp break camp with the Phillies?

The Veterans

Shawn Camp

Camp, 38, is a 6’0″ righty reliever that led the National League in appearances in 2012 after pitching in 80 games. Camp’s career 4.40 ERA is scary and his 1.445 WHIP is scarier – his career ERA is higher than 13 Phillies relievers in 2013 and his WHIP higher than nine others. Camp’s fastball sat at 86.3 MPH last season, losing a full MPH+ from 2012 and it was easy to hit: in 23 innings for the Cubs, Camp posted a 7.04 ERA, ranking 269 out of 273 out of relievers that pitched 20 innings or more in 2013. Camp has never been a strikeout reliever (career 6.1 K/9 IP) and has struggled with walks (2.7 BB/9 IP).

Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: None. Camp is in camp as filler. He comes with years of big league experience and could be a positive influence out of camp. The odds are long that any of the relievers on this list make the team out of the camp because of the fact that 15 relievers are already on the 40-man roster.

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2014: F-. The Phillies love veteran players but Camp seems like he is a veteran running out of steam. Camp only has five MPH separation on his fastball and change up as 2013 and finally seemed to lose the “veteran, reliable reliever” tag he had earned from 2009 through 2012. I don’t think Camp will see any time with the Phillies.  Continue reading Phillies Non-Roster Invitee 2014 Preview: Relievers

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2013 Non-Roster Invitee Preview: Update

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, March 17, 2013 10:00 AM Comments: 0

Quintero remains the non-roster invitee with the best chance to make the Phillies out of Spring Training. Photo AP

We’re a little bit over halfway through Major League Spring Training, and not including the depth guys that were added to the roster late for depth, the Phillies have eight non-roster invitees still in camp. Let’s reassess their chances.

Still the Clubhouse Favorite

Humberto Quintero

What I originally wrote:

Quintero is primarily the front runner for the early season back-up catching role due to the amount of experience he has in the big leagues. Quintero has almost no bat (career .234/.267/.323) and despite the fact that he was on the 2004 Padres with Jake Peavy in his prime and the 2005 Astros with Roy Oswalt in his prime and Roger Clemens putting up a league-leading 1.87 ERA, Quintero didn’t catch those guys. He often served as Wandy Rodriguez‘s personal catcher much in the same way Brian Schneider was accidentally-on-purpose Vance Worley‘s personal catcher throughout 2011.

This is not to say Quintero does not have positives: Quintero is a fine defensive catcher via the eye test and UZR says he has saved 26.2 runs over the course of his career. As much as it would be fun if this were a race for a roster spot, this is Quintero’s spot to lose. Valle would benefit from playing every day more in Lehigh Valley than playing once every five days in Philadelphia.

Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: A. Quintero will very likely be Kratz’s back-up until Chooch returns. In terms of back-up catchers, you could do worse.

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2013: A+. In fact, look for Quintero to start the home opener on April 5, which is the first Phillies’ day game after a night game.

Where he stands now:

Quintero’s odds of making the team have not changed since that writing. Quintero has hit .231/.313/.231 in 16 Spring PA and has not faced particularly stiff competition from anyone by Joseph and Joseph is already in the minors.

New Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: A+ (Stock: Up)

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2013: A+ (Stock: Unchanged)

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Phils Sign Gallagher, Release Blanco

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, February 24, 2013 09:45 AM Comments: 1

http://media.scout.com/Media/Image/63/637473.jpgNo, the Phils did not sign the balding man who smashes watermelons. The Phillies did, however, sign Austin Gallagher, a 24-year old Lancaster, PA native formerly of the Dodgers organization. Gallagher is a former 2007 Third Round pick who was at one point fast-tracked to High-A as a 19-year old in 2008 but has had issues staying on the field and has not progressed past High-A. Gallagher was released by the Dodgers in January after being suspended for a positive test for Methylhexaneamine. He will start the year by missing 50-games for using the popular fitness supplement.

Gallagher has posted strong Minor League career numbers but has spent four of his six seasons repeating High-A. Why he never was afforded the chance at a promotion to Double-A is a bit of a mystery (.290/.368/.447, 10 HR/season), but if he sticks with the Phils, he should compete for time at first base for Reading.

In other Phillies transaction news, the Phillies released Minor League non-roster invitee Andres Blanco this week. Blanco hit .235/.301/.346 for the IronPigs last year and is a career .255/.301/.333 Major League hitter. Blanco was expected to resume the role of starting shortstop for the IronPigs but struggled with injuries over the winter.

Credit: Matt Eddy, Baseball America for the transaction news.

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What to Expect From Howard in 2013

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, February 18, 2013 12:00 PM Comments: 91

Ryan Howard seen here in happier times. Photo by Ian Riccaboni

Let us pause for a second for a moment of self-acknowledgement: in 2011, I joined Phillies Nation after years of running a lightly traffic’ed blog about the Phillies and music, while posting pictures of Greek Yogurt and other healthy foods I was convinced I was going to try to incorporate into my daily diet. After a few months analyzing the performance of the likes of Michael Schwimer and writing fluffy pieces about John Bowker, I wrote a speculative-but-factually-grounded piece that prompted much discussion : “What If” The Platoon Works at First Base?

For those who don’t remember, the piece functioned around the idea that a combination of John Mayberry, Laynce Nix, Jim Thome, and Ty Wigginton could not only match Howard’s 2011 production but outperform his production. The piece drew up a lot of good discussion and was based on the assumption that a true platoon, which Charlie Manuel was unlikely to put together, could put together a line close to .280/.380/.550.

To say quite a few things happened last year would be an understatement. Let’s reflect.

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Asche Prospect to Watch Honorable Mention

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Fri, February 15, 2013 06:24 PM Comments: 2

Law thinks Asche could make an impact with the Phils in 2013. Photo by: Jay Floyd

In an Insider Only post, ESPN’s Keith Law ranked third baseman and non-roster invite to Spring Training Cody Asche as an honorable mention among the prospects who could have the biggest impact in 2013. The list is measured by expected roles, playing time, and situations of players that may be in front of them. In previous pieces, Law has cited the Phillies lack of depth at third and Michael Young‘s age as reasons Asche could see time in 2013. Baseball Prospectus loves Asche’s ability to hit for contact while John Sickles thinks he is not far away from contributing. In our non-roster preview, I gave Asche a C+ chance of seeing time with the Phillies in 2013, which roughly translates into a 60% shot, qualifying his time as a September call-up.

Look for Asche, who was selected by the Phillies in the 4th round of the 2011 draft, to join the PhilliesNation team beginning next week, as the 22-year-old will provide weekly interview/diary entries directly from spring training.

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2013 Non-Roster Invitees: Wrap Up

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, February 12, 2013 09:55 AM Comments: 0

http://a.espncdn.com/combiner/i?img=/i/headshots/mlb/players/full/6218.png&w=350&h=254With pitchers and catchers officially reporting tomorrow, it is time to wrap up our yearly off-season look at the the Phillies Non-Rostered Invitees to Spring Training. Individually, we reviewed the outfield, catchers, infielders, relievers, and wrapped up the starting pitchers yesterday. Think of today’s post as a preseason yearbook, pulling it all together, with superlatives and some bonus ZIPS projections for each player that receives a superlative. Continue reading 2013 Non-Roster Invitees: Wrap Up

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2013 Non-Roster Invitee Preview: Starters

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, February 11, 2013 12:30 PM Comments: 0

We round out our preview of the non-roster invitees with a look at a small but talent-rich group: the starting pitchers. The Phillies are inviting three starters to camp who are not currently on the roster: two solid veterans and one of the Phillies top prospects.

The Pitcher with the Most to Gain, Least to Lose

Adam Morgan

The superlatives and high marks are suddenly piling up for the lefty coming off a breakout campaign. Morgan was ranked the best Phillies’ prospect and the 92nd best prospect in baseball by Keith Law and second in the Phillies organization by Minor League Ball’s John Sickels, while Baseball Prospectus ranked him third in the Phillies’ ranks, and Baseball America put him at fifth. He also clearly got the Phillies attention: he is the only Minor League starter who was with the organization last year not on the 40-man to be invited to camp.

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2013 Non-Roster Invitee Preview: Relievers

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, February 06, 2013 05:51 PM Comments: 0

Is this Friend's year? Photo by: Jay Floyd

Yesterday, we previewed the non-roster invitees who play the infield. Before that, we looked at the outfielders and catchers. Pete Orr, for the second consecutive season, is the clubhouse favorite among the infielders, while Jermaine Mitchell is a long shot but paces the outfielders. Humberto Quintero will likely start the year as Erik Kratz‘s back-up, having the best shot among any non-rostered position player to crack the roster for Opening Day.

Today, we will take a look at a tough group to predict: relievers. The qualifications for the group we’re looking at are as follows: the non-roster invitee in question must have served primarily as a reliever during last season. The Phillies used 17 pitchers in relief last year, not including Joe Blanton‘s early Pittsburgh bullpen cameo, meaning 11 players not on the Opening Day roster pitched in relief in 2012. The Phillies have 14 relievers on their 40 man right now meaning that if the Phillies use pitchers at the same rate as last season, three of the players listed below may see some time in the Majors in 2013.

The Veterans

Juan Cruz

Cruz put together a very effective season in 2012 for the Pirates (2.78 ERA, 8.3 K/9 IP) before being abruptly released in August as the Pirates season spiraled out of control. Out of control may be the perfect phrase to describe Cruz, as, despite his low ERA, Cruz posted a 1.626 WHIP and a 4.8 BB/9 IP. Cruz has always struggled with control but has occasionally dominated righties, pitching to a career to a career .230 BAA. The question then is: can Charlie Manuel resist the temptation to pitch Cruz against only righties if on the roster? If his treatment of lefty J.C. Romero is any indication, no.

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2013 Non-Roster Invitee Preview: Infielders

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, February 05, 2013 10:00 AM Comments: 7

http://media.lehighvalleylive.com/sports_impact/photo/pete-orr-action-4cc80f490dcfb2ee.jpgThe Phillies had 13 players suit up and play a non-catching infield position last year, a stark contrast to nine in 2011, 12 in 2010, ten in 2009, and nine in 2009. With the average number of infielders needed by the Phillies at just over ten and a half and the Phillies currently with only seven infielders on their 40-man roster, there is a very good chance more than one of these players will see extended time at an infield spot for the Phillies, particularly considering the health concerns of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley and the ages of Jimmy Rollins and Michael Young.

Three-in-a-Row for Sneaky Pete?

Pete Orr

Much to my surprise in 2011, Pete Orr began the year with the Phillies on their Opening Day roster. Last year? Orr didn’t catch me off guard. Orr filled in well in 57 PA last year, hitting .315/.327/.444, is still among the fastest players in the Phillies organization, and still plays, at worst, average defense at all infield positions. Depending on the Phillies’ development plans for Cesar Hernandez, Orr is likely the first option to come up from Lehigh Valley should there be an injury.

Like Steven Lerud yesterday, a lot of Orr’s value comes in the fact that he’s just valuable enough to have on a roster but not so valuable that another team would select him off waivers. With limited roster space, that is a plus for Orr. Another advantage for Orr? He will be able to showcase himself as the starting second baseman for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic.

Chances of Making Phils out of Spring Training: D+. Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis complicate Orr’s chances of starting the year with the team, but if Young, Rollins, or Utley aren’t ready, or even Frandsen or Galvis, Orr is probably the first infielder up.

Chances of Seeing Time with Phils in 2013: C. Not as likely as last year, but a reasonable 50/50 shot to be on the roster at some point in 2013 unless Hernandez or one of the others greatly outplays him.

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