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Saturday, December 16, 2017

ESPN: Carlos Santana signing a significant step in Phillies’ rebuild (Schoenfield)

1. First off, at three years and $60 million, it’s not overpaying, and limiting the deal to three years means there’s little chance of it blowing up on the back end. Santana owns a career .365 OBP, so he brings some much-needed on-base ability to the Phillies lineup. The deal takes him through his age 32-34 seasons, and while Santana’s home run production has been inconsistent through the years—27 in 2014, 19 in 2015, 34 in 2016, 23 in 2017—we know he will draw his walks. The Phillies were 11th in the NL in walks and 13th in OBP in 2017, so they need a hitter like this to help anchor the middle of the lineup.

This season will still be a building curve for the Phillies. They also traded Freddy Galvis to the Padres for interesting pitching prospect Enyel De Los Santos, opening up shortstop for J.P. Crawford. His bat has stalled a bit at the upper levels of the minors, but the plate discipline remains a plus, and he was much better in the second half at Triple-A after a terrible start. It’s time to see what he can do.

Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 16, 2017 at 09:45 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: carlos santana, indians, phillies, winter meetings

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   1. baerga1 Posted: December 16, 2017 at 04:12 PM (#5593800)
Sucks to lose him. The dude rarely gives away an at-bat, is much more athletic than he appears, good base runner (I think), never gets hurt, and is willing to work his butt off to do whatever the team needs.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: December 16, 2017 at 04:29 PM (#5593806)
The downside of the Santana deal is that it moves Hoskins to LF. Until a short stint last year, Hoskins has been almost exclusively a 1B coming up. Santana is a solid player but he's not good enough that you move one of your top prospects out of position to accommodate him. Granted, Hoskins could be a mirage.
   3. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: December 16, 2017 at 04:38 PM (#5593813)
Granted, Hoskins could be a mirage.

Just curious, why do you say that? Is there something about him that makes you doubt him or is it just default skepticism of someone with 200 ML PAs? He seems to me like a pretty safe bet to be a plus bat, at least as far as 24-year-olds with limited experience go.
   4. don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all Posted: December 16, 2017 at 06:19 PM (#5593843)
0
The downside of the Santana deal is that it moves Hoskins to LF. Until a short stint last year, Hoskins has been almost exclusively a 1B coming up. Santana is a solid player but he's not good enough that you move one of your top prospects out of position to accommodate him. Granted, Hoskins could be a mirage.

i'm not sure that's much of a downside. hoskins seems athletic enough to handle LF and santana is above average at 1B.

opening up shortstop for J.P. Crawford. His bat has stalled a bit at the upper levels of the minors, but the plate discipline remains a plus, and he was much better in the second half at Triple-A after a terrible start. It’s time to see what he can do.

i do wonder how 2B/3B/SS is gonna shake out. i think the best combination is likely to be kingery/hernandez/crawford, but maikel franco is only 25 years old and he's a solid bet to hit another 20+ HRs this year. and there's still alot of smoke around the phillies getting machado.

the phillies now have 3 high-ish OBP guys in the lineup (santana, hoskins, hernandez).
replacing joseph with santana and trading galvis takes away two of their biggest out producers.
their catchers (rupp/alfaro/knapp) should be average hitters for their position, at worst.
they have 3 solid options (altherr, herrera, nick williams) for 2 OF spots (plus they've drafted OFs in the top 10 each of the last 3 years)
joseph and franco have both hit 20 HRs the last two years, are just entering their prime, and they could both be nailed to the bench by mid-april.

it seems like the phillies have 15 hitters who could reasonably be expected to hit league average for their position.
   5. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: December 16, 2017 at 06:32 PM (#5593846)
Just curious, why do you say that? Is there something about him that makes you doubt him or is it just default skepticism of someone with 200 ML PAs? He seems to me like a pretty safe bet to be a plus bat, at least as far as 24-year-olds with limited experience go.

Never ranked as one of the Phillies' best prospects on most prospect lists (or appeared on Top 100 lists), and they didn't really have a great farm system. Low ceiling was in part due to the fact that he looked like a mediocre 1B. It's not unheard of for a guy like that to string together a competent half season and then sophomore slump his way into fading into obscurity. But could be a right-handed Ryan Klesko if he can become semi-competent in LF, which is a pretty valuable player. Hoskins is only 24, but there is a nontrivial chance that he has already played his best season of MLB.

At the same time, $20M/yr for 3 years is a fair deal for Santana, but he's not really good enough (nor the value good enough) to displace a guy that you think is a good bet to be a cheap middle-of-the-order guy. So that suggests that the Phillies are equally concerned about Hoskins' ability to live up to the newfound potential.
   6. Ziggy: The Platonic Form of Russell Branyan Posted: December 16, 2017 at 08:33 PM (#5593878)
It depends what you're talking about when you say he's "already played his best season of MLB." If you mean that he might not slash 396/618 again, then yes, there's a pretty good chance of that. If you mean that there's a nontrivial chance that he's not going to have another 2 WAR season, then I'll disagree and say that there's only a trivial chance of that. Hoskins raked his whole way through the minors, improving his OPS every year. ZiPS likes him for 368/535. There's nontrivial chance that he won't reach that projection and won't be worth 2 WAR next year, but if ZiPS has that strong of a projection for you, I'm fairly confident that you'll put up 2 WAR in a season at some point.
   7. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 16, 2017 at 11:22 PM (#5593914)
It has happened before that the Phils have a hotshot young first baseman who plays 1/3 of a season for them, and then they add a star first baseman in the ensuing winter as the first major veteran signing of the rebuilding period.

Rhys Hoskins, 2017:
212 PA
.259/.396/.618
165 OPS+

Jeremy Giambi, 2002:
211 PA
.244/.435/.538
162 OPS+
   8. Howie Menckel Posted: December 16, 2017 at 11:37 PM (#5593916)
good one, Crispix!
   9. Walt Davis Posted: December 17, 2017 at 07:51 PM (#5594117)
is it just default skepticism of someone with 200 ML PAs?

Mostly that. I did say "could be a mirage." As others have noted, he also wasn't highly-ranked and he's a late-bloomer (already 25). But I was very impressed in a late-season series against the Cubs and so I kept an eye on him through Sept and he didn't give any signs of struggling. Given Judge and Bellinger and the new HR-heavy approach in general, I'm not gonna write him off. After all, I'm more arguing that they should have left him alone and found out if he's for real, not signed Santana and shifted him to LF to give him something else to worry about. (This also assuming there's a good reason he was never tried in LF in the minors.)

The #1 thing to like about Hoskins and think he's for real is the K-rate of only 22%. (The 18% walk rate ain't bad either but that will obviously regress.) It seems reasonably common in sillyball v2 for some wild swinger to start off super hot with some bombs and BABIP luck. But his BABIP was a terrible 241 that is much more likely to go up than down. If the K-rate stays around 22%, it's hard to see this guy not making enough contact to continue to hit 260ish, with a good walk rate and solid power. Or what ZiPS said. (The K-rate was 16% at AAA and 21% at AA so that doesn't look like a small sample fluke.)

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