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Your Latest Music Update

Jimmy RollinsHere is the latest update on the Phillies’ at-bat and warmup tunes. Selections are through May 30.

If you do not see somebody listed it means they have not chosen a song:

AT BAT:

  • Cody Asche: Dat New New – Kid Cudi
  • Reid Brignac: Drop Tha Top – Boss Hogg Outlawz
  • Domonic Brown: In Da Wind – Trick Daddy and Move That Dope – Future
  • A.J. Burnett: Walking Dead Theme – Bear McCreary
  • Marlon Byrd: Get Like Me – David Banner and Work – DJ Smoke f/Gangstarr
  • Tony Gwynn Jr.: So Fresh So Clean – Outkast
  • Ryan Howard: They Don’t Love You No More – DJ Khaled
  • John Mayberry Jr.: Look Ahead – Future
  • Wil Nieves: No Soy Yo – Tony Vega
  • Ben Revere: Turn Down For What – DJ Snake & Lil Jon
  • Jimmy Rollins: Walk Thru – Rich Homie Quan
  • Darin Ruf: Awake and Alive – Skillet
  • Carlos Ruiz: In The Air Tonight – Phil Collins
  • Chase Utley: Kashmir – Led Zeppelin

WARM UP

  • Mike Adams: Intro – DMX
  • David Buchanan: Agnus Dei / Worthy – Third Day
  • A.J. Burnett: Black Skinhead – Kanye West
  • Cole Hamels: Thunderstruck – AC/DC
  • Kyle Kendrick: The Outsiders – Eric Church
  • Cliff Lee: Stranglehold – Ted Nugent
  • Jonathan Papelbon: Bout That Life – Meek Mill

Last 10 Drafts Haven’t Delivered for Phillies

Darin RufThe Phillies have the seventh overall pick in next week’s draft, their highest selection since they picked right-hander Gavin Floyd with the fourth pick in 2001. They took Cole Hamels with the No. 17 pick in 2002, but since then the best thing that can be said about the organization’s first-round picks is that two of them (Kyle Drabek and Travis d’Arnaud) helped them acquire Roy Halladay from the Blue Jays in Dec. 2009.

The list includes Greg Golson, Joe Savery, Adrian Cardenas, Zach Collier, Anthony Hewitt and Larry Greene.

“Circumstances are a little different,” assistant general manager of amateur scouting Marti Wolever said. “Seven or eight years ago, you had to have an opportunity to play here. If you were a first baseman or a second baseman or a shortstop or a catcher, guess what, you weren’t going to play here for a while. … 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.”

Forty-six Phillies draft picks have reached the big leagues over the previous 10 drafts (2004-13), which ties the A’s and Rangers for seventh-best in baseball. The average in that span is 41.8 players per organization. But the quality of the Phillies’ picks ranks last. According to Baseball Reference, the combined WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of Phillies draft picks over the past 10 years is 20.7, which is a remarkable 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) are in the top five. The Phillies, Blue Jays, Mets (49.5), Twins (49.6) and Marlins (51.8) are in the bottom five.

The big-league average is 82.7.

There are things to consider with those rankings:

  • Recent draft picks do not figure into the equation as much, if at all, because they are still coming through the farm system or just beginning their big-league careers. Class A Lakewood shortstop J.P. Crawford, who the Phillies selected in the first round last year, could be a superstar, but he nets the Phillies nothing today. The same can be said for former draft picks Jarred Cosart and Jonathan Singleton, who are with the Astros. Of course, the same came be said for the other 29 teams, too.
  • Second, the Phillies have not selected higher than 16th overall in the past 10 years. There is a big difference drafting high in the first round compared to low in the first round. Still, there are gems to be found everywhere.
  • Third, the rankings consider players drafted, whether or not they signed with the organization. So the Angels get credit for selecting Buster Posey in the 50th round in 2005 and Matt Harvey in the third round in 2007, even though neither signed. Then again, the Phillies got 6.2 points for Vance Worley, whom they drafted twice.
  • Fourth and certainly not least, how much is the player development side involved?

But generally speaking the Phillies have not fared well in the past 10 drafts. Their top three performers based on WAR are J.A. Happ (5.6, third round pick in 2004), A.J. Griffin (4.4, 34th round in 2009, but did not sign) and Worley (3.6, 20th round in 2005 and third round in 2008).

That is something that must change.

Revere’s Ride Can’t Save Phillies

Rockies Phillies Baseball

A few thoughts about last night’s 6-2 loss to the Rockies:

  • Will we ever seen Ben Revere homer again? He finally homered in the 1,466th at-bat of his career. It was the longest homerless stretch to start a career since Frank Taveras went 1,594 at-bats without a homer from 1972-77.
  • Darin Ruf isn’t a savior, but he has warranted additional playing time. Not because he hit a home run last night, but because the Phillies need to try something different in left field and possibly at first base while Domonic Brown is struggling overall and Ryan Howard is struggling against lefties. Brown’s .567 OPS is the sixth lowest out of 169 qualifying hitters in baseball. Putting some historical perspective into it, Brown’s .582 OPS as a left fielder — his overall OPS is lower — would be the fifth lowest out of 558 qualifying left fielders in baseball from 1990-2014. The White Sox’s Alejandro De Aza (.533 OPS in 2014), Seattle’s Mike Felder (.545 in 1993), Seattle’s Brian Hunter (.571 in 1999) and Kansas City’s Chuck Knoblauch (.582 in 2002) are lower. Even if Ruf posts an OPS 50 points lower than his career average of .838, it would still be 221 points higher than what Brown is giving the Phillies right now.
  • The Phillies raved about Jeff Manship‘s performance in Spring Training. But Manship still had a 6.42 ERA in 52 appearances over parts of five big-league seasons, which seemed like a pretty good predictor of the future. Manship has a 7.53 ERA in 15 appearances this season. He has made just two appearances with the Phillies holding a lead, which is not a surprise. He joined the bullpen as a long man/mop-up guy. But he has made nine appearances with the game either tied or the Phillies’ in a deficit of three runs or less. In other words, winnable games. Manship has allowed at least a run in five of those appearances, posting a 13.50 ERA in those games.
  • Ken Giles is 2-0 with a 0.84 ERA in eight appearances with Triple-A. He has allowed five hits, one run, five walks and has struck out seven in 10 1/3 innings. His strikeout rate has plummeted since the promotion from Double-A (17.4 per nine innings to 5.9), while his walks rate has inched upward (3.0 to 4.2). That is not a recipe for success, but Triple-A hitters aren’t squaring up the ball, either. That should tell you something, too. Give the kid a shot. The Phillies have nothing to lose at this point.

Don’t Expect Franco Soon, Utley Trade Rumors

Chase UtleyIt sure doesn’t sound like Maikel Franco is an option to play third base while Cody Asche is on the disabled list.

“He’s just not playing good enough baseball yet,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said today at Citizens Bank Park. “He’s not really ready to be a big-leaguer yet.”

Franco returned to the IronPigs lineup yesterday after missing a couple days with an upper respiratory issue. He is hitting .231 with four home runs, 19 RBIs and a .669 OPS this season after a poor start, but he has hit .292 with an .851 OPS in 27 games since April 22.

But in those last 27 games, he is hitting just .125 (3 for 24) in his last seven.

Asche is on the DL with a strained left hamstring. The Phillies said they hope Asche can return June 7, when he is eligible to be activated. If that happens, it means there are just 10 more days for Franco to get a call up.

That isn’t much of a window to suddenly become a big leaguer in the eyes and minds of the Phillies front office. Meanwhile, Cesar Hernandez continues to play third base in Asche’s absence. He entered Tuesday hitting .129 (4-for-31).

“There’s no reason to bring Franco unless he’s ready to be a big leaguer as far as I’m concerned,” Amaro said. “If he puts together a few days. Offensively, he’s made some adjustments, he’s made some improvements better than in the earlier part of the season, but he’s not really going on all cylinders now. We’re still contemplating it. We’ll see how it goes.”

*

Are there Chase Utley trade rumors? If not, there will be soon, unless the team begins to play well.

“They surface because he’s a good player and we’re not in first place, that’s why they surface,” Amaro said.

But Amaro downplayed the suggestion the Phillies would trade one of their more iconic players.

“First off, no one wants to trade Chase Utley and No.2 I don’t think Chase Utley wants to go anywhere and he has the power to decide what he wants to do,” Amaro said. “The point is kind of moot. The same with Jimmy (Rollins). The same story.”

Asche to DL

ascheCody Asche did not seem happy this morning at Citizens Bank Park.

It became clear why a couple hours later when the team announced Asche had been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring. The Phillies recalled right-hander Justin De Fratus from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take his place on the roster.

The Phillies had been a man short in the bullpen since placing right-hander Luis Garcia on the DL on Friday, which is why they replaced a position player with a pitcher.

Asche only shrugged this morning when asked if his left hamstring had improved. He had not played since Thursday because of the injury. He tested the hamstring in the morning with some light jogging.

“No improvement,” Ryne Sandberg said.

Asche said yesterday he has been playing through the discomfort for about six or seven games. The athletic training staff had been treating it, but it did not like the way it seemed to be headed.

They hoped rest could help.

“We’re just trying to kill it right now,” Asche said yesterday. “We’ve got a pretty important stretch right now.”

Asche had been playing well offensively this month, hitting .317 with five doubles, three home runs, 12 RBIs and a .956 OPS in 17 games.

Cesar Hernandez started his third consecutive game at third base today.

Revere’s Talks Big Day, Rough Season

Ben RevereBen Revere had one of the lowest on-base percentages of any leadoff hitter in baseball, but Ryne Sandberg returned him to the top spot today against the Dodgers.

Sandberg had a hunch and it worked. Revere tied a career-high with four hits and scored three runs in a 5-3 victory.

“If he’s swinging the bat well and getting on base, he creates something at the top with Jimmy (Rollins) following him, two good base runners,” Sandberg said. “Two good guys at the top of the order. Jimmy’s fine first or second. He’s been consistent all year. For Ben to really give us a push and get on base in a big way, he’s helping us in the leadoff spot. That’s a good spot for him.”

Revere, who hit first for the first time since May 14, hit a leadoff double down the right-field line in the first inning and scored on Chase Utley‘s two-run homer to right to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. It was Revere’s first double since July 8, 2013, a span of 43 games and 168 plate appearances. Revere singled to score a run in the second and later scored on Rollins’ single to right to make it 4-0.

Revere is hitting .289 with one double, two triples, six RBIs, three walks, 17 strikeouts and a .625 OPS in 153 plate appearances this season.

“Again I broke my ankle last year, surgery, going to have days where it’s going to be sore, it’s going to be good,” Revere said, referring to the July surgery on his right foot which ended his season. “I’m finding my way just to get my groove back and everything. It may take some time because I’ve talked to other guys that had the same surgery as mine. It’s going to be a little bit, but eventually you’re going to get going. Being around this average, close to .300, at this time after the surgery is pretty impressive. People thought I’d probably lose my speed, my timing, no, I feel pretty good.”

Entering Saturday, Revere’s .289 on-base percentage hitting first ranked 26th out of 29 hitters with 100 or more plate appearances in the leadoff spot.

Asche Rests Ailing Hamstring

Cody AscheRyne Sandberg had a reason not to play Phillies third baseman Cody Asche today.

Asche is battling tendinitis in the left hamstring tendon. Cesar Hernandez started at third for a second consecutive game.

“Nothing severe,” Asche said. “I’ve been playing through it for about six or seven games. I don’t think the training staff really liked the way it was headed, so we’re just trying to kill it right now. We’ve got a pretty important stretch right now.”

Asche missed some time in early April because of a hamstring issue.

“It’s a little bit different,” he said.

Fundamentals? Fundamentals

Ben Revere, A.J. EllisYou learn something new every day at the ballpark?

For example, until last night I had been told a base runner on third with no outs and a ball hit in the air should be near the bag so he can tag up to at least try to score. But when Ben Revere did not tag to try to score when Domonic Brown hit a sinking line drive to Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford in the seventh inning in a 2-0 loss, the explanation afterward was that it was OK.

Most coaches or players who saw that play would be puzzled by that answer.

“You know what?” Ryne Sandberg said. “From my angle, that’s a tough call. It looked like a sure base hit, it was so shallow. I was surprised he made a catch on that. That was a tough call. I don’t know if it’s a shoestring catch, if he scores or not, if he does catch the ball. Definitely a big play though.”

Revere said he only tags if there is one out. If there are no outs he is running all the way.

“I was going no matter what,” he said. “The ball just kind of stayed up in the air. I thought it was going to land, and he made the catch with no outs. With one out I usually go back and tag, but, nah, I thought that ball was going to be down for sure off the bat.”

So the play there with no outs is don’t tag up?

“It was like a line drive, so I kind of froze, saw it in the air and that’s when … I was going on contact anyway, and I saw it, and it got closer, I was like, ‘This is going to be down,’ but he came in (and got it),” Revere said. “Usually with one out I go back and tag.”

Sandberg has stressed fundamentals constantly since the beginning of spring training. There have been countless drills. Infield drills. Outfield drills. Base running drills. Asked last night about those efforts and if he has seen enough improvement, Sandberg didn’t offer an answer.

“I think once again, that play right there is a tough call,” he said. “If he’s playing that shallow, or if he traps it, a shoestring non-catch, he’s got to be able to score there. Other than that, the guys battled. Pitching was outstanding tonight. Like I said, we did have three opportunities with two men on and no outs.”

Pettibone’s Health a Growing Concern

Jonathan PettiboneTriple-A right-hander Jonathan Pettibone has a small tear in his right shoulder, but for now the treatment is a cortisone injection and rest.

Pettibone received a second opinion yesterday on his injured shoulder from noted orthopedist James Andrews, and Ruben Amaro Jr. said there was no difference in the original diagnosis. Pettibone was presented with three options: have an exploratory scope, received a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection or receive a cortisone injection.

This is Pettibone’s second cortisone injection this year. He received his first in February.

“He’s going to rest it until the 31st and then start a throwing program,” Amaro said. “I don’t have any timeline after that. It’ll just depend on how he feels, how he’s progressing.”

But it is a SLAP tear (Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior), which can be serious.

“It depends on the player and how big it is,” Amaro said. “It’s not a big one. It’s pretty small. But it’s uncomfortable for him. You pitch to comfort. … They can get better. You can strengthen the muscles and tissue around it. Some of them do and some of them don’t.”

Pettibone’s shoulder is a legitimate concern because this is the third time he has had to stop pitching in less than a year because of it. He finished last season on the disabled list before falling behind schedule in Spring Training because of shoulder pain.

His health also becomes more important with Cliff Lee on the disabled list with a left elbow injury.

“We’ll see how he manages through it,” Amaro said of Pettibone. “Who was the closer from Cleveland we passed on (before the 2007 season)? Joe Borowski. He had a full thickness tear in his labrum and he pitched through it. A lot of it depends on the pitcher and the comfort.”

Rollins Ties Whitey

Jimmy RollinsJimmy Rollins said Sunday his pursuit of the franchise’s all-time hits record isn’t going fast enough.

But he seems to be on a pretty good pace. Just a few days after he passed Ed Delahanty for sole possession of third place on the Phillies’ hit list, he picked up two hits last night at Marlins Park to tie Richie Ashburn for second place with 2,217 hits. The hit that tied “Whitey” came on a single to right field in the fifth inning.

Rollins needs just 17 more hits to tie Mike Schmidt‘s mark of 2,234 hits.

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