Wolever Gone, More Changes Coming?

woleverRuben Amaro Jr. promised significant changes in the offseason, but he started tonight when he announced assistant general manager of amateur scouting Marti Wolever will not return in 2015.

Wolever, who has been running the organization’s First-Year Player Drafts for more than a decade, had been with the organization since 1992.

“The Phillies express appreciation for Marti’s many years of service to the organization,” Amaro said in a statement.

Wolever could not be reached for comment.

One of the reasons the Phillies slid in the standings in recent seasons is because they have not had enough talent coming through the farm system. They took Cole Hamels with the No. 17 pick in 2002, but since then have produced few impact players or pitchers.

Recent first-round picks included Greg Golson (2004), Kyle Drabek (2006), Joe Savery (2007), Anthony Hewitt (2008), Jesse Biddle (2010), J.P. Crawford (2013) and Aaron Nola (2014). Supplemental first-round picks included Adrian Cardenas (2006), Travis d’Arnaud (2007), Zach Collier (2008), Larry Greene (2011), Mitch Guellar (2012) and Shane Watson (2012).

There have been more misses than hits, although Wolever’s final first-round picks – Crawford and Nola – could be his best.

Before this year’s draft, MLB.com examined the Phillies’ previous 10 drafts (2004-13). Forty-six draft picks reached the big leagues, which tied the A’s and Rangers for seventh-best in baseball. The average in that span was 41.8 players per organization.

But the quality of the Phillies’ picks ranked last. According to Baseball Reference, the combined WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of Phillies’ picks over the past 10 years was 20.7, which was 24.6 points lower than the 29th ranked Blue Jays (45.3).

The Red Sox (142.7), Braves (133.3), Angels (124.4), Yankees (120.5) and Diamondacks (120.1) were in the top five. The Phillies, Blue Jays, Mets (49.5), Twins (49.6) and Marlins (51.8) were in the bottom five.

The big-league average was 82.7.

“When you pick down low, sometimes your interest changes a little because you have a chance to take a little bit safer pick or take a chance if it hits with a high ceiling,” Wolever said in May. “You reach out and you take Golsons and Saverys and you roll the dice on Anthony Hewitt and you hope that you hit based on their tools and their athletic ability. Some do, some don’t and some of them haven’t and we need to do a better job in that regard, but it’s based on a lot of factors that come into play.”

It should be noted Wolever’s drafts produced players like Ryan Howard and Hamels as well as the players that helped the Phillies acquire talents like Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Hunter Pence, Brad Lidge and others.

But Wolever also got the Phillies snared in a controversy with the NCAA and two picks the Phillies failed to sign in 2013. Wolever reported those players to the NCAA for violating its “no agent” rule during negotiations.

“We probably could have handled things a little bit better,” Amaro said on 94WIP in March.

Wolever said in May he had no regrets.

“The only regret I have is taking players that had no intent of signing,” Wolever said. “That’s the only regret I have.”

One wonders if Amaro will look next at the player development staff. Are the organization’s shortcomings in the farm system a matter of lackluster drafts or lackluster drafts and poor player development?

One thing seems fairly certain: Wolever’s dismissal will not be the only change Amaro makes in the front office.

7 Comments

Until Amaro is gone, nothing good will happen. Wolever didn’t hand out a bunch of bad contracts to old players.

Awful lot of bad prospects just lost their chance to fleece the Phillies for years to come. Wolver is the sacrificial lamb to deflect blame from Amaro.

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I dunno. I’ve been saying for years that the talent evaluation of this team is awful. Those WAR stats are compelling evidence supporting what we see on the field. Being that far away from the next-worse team is pretty embarrassing, especially for a franchise trying to field a playoff team every year. I hope they keep culling the talent evaluators and development folks, because clearly something is not working. Getting rid of RAJ and not cleaning house farther down the ladder is not going to cut it.

I actually think it was time for Wolever to go. However this just a ploy that Amaro is trying to pass the blame on to his underlings and redirect some of the blame. However, the buck stops at RAJ. I think Rube was good for this club 3-4 years ago but now. This club has to be turned around and Ruben isnt the one to do it. The Howard extension will continue to haunt this club for a while.

The farm system has been in disarray far longer than Amaro has been the GM. I am not sticking up for Amaro because he hasn’t been doing a good job. It might take years to recover from this mess.

Why is Papelbon closing games? It certainly is not in the best interests of the TEAM. Kennny Giles is the future closer (I assume) – should he not get closing experience NOW. However AMARO says Papelbon is our closer. What is the point? Why is Chase Utley playing ( my favorite) on a regular basis in September? He has had a miserable (hard to watch) second half . Either he has an injury problem or it is time to retire. Are they finished with waiting for D. Brown to develop into a major leaguer ? Honestly, Amaro does not have a clue that he does not have GM capabilities .

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