Phillies Mailbag: Coaches, Bohm, Draft Picks
We are back once again with a 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag. Each week we take your questions and talk about them on the Sports Bash with Mike Gill every Tuesday. Send your questions anytime on Twitter to @FrankKlose or send a text to the text board at 609-403-0973.
Why haven't (hitting coach John) Mallee and (pitching coach Chris) Young been fired?
The Phillies have certainly had their problems. The first major problem was the performance of the bullpen. Second would be the Phillies offensive struggles of late. Despite this, I really do not think it is time to fire either player.
First, consider the situation of John Mallee. This was the hitting coach tasked with bringing the Chicago Cubs from a basement-dweller to a World Champion. Mallee has the ring to prove it. Can he be blamed for this Phillies skid?
Let's first focus on one of the major successes in 2019: Scott Kingery. Should Mallee be credited with his success?
The major failures in the offense seem to be the same players that showed inconsistency in the past: Maikel Franco, Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera, who was inconsistent even before his administrative leave. Are their failures Mallee's fault?
As for Chris Young, the Phillies and many other teams in baseball think very highly of him. Young was heavily recruited by other teams to be their pitching coach. The Phillies had to swallow hard and let Rick Kranitz go to the Braves because Young is seen as a long-term solution.
I can ask the similar questions. Are you surprised that Vince Velasquez and Jerad Eickhoff could not hold down rotation spots? Was Young the reason Nick Pivetta struggled, or why he's come around and pitched well as of late?
Is it Young's fault that David Robertson, under his tutelage of just a few weeks got injured? For the injuries to Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek? Seranthony Dominguez? The bullpen injuries certainly make the pitching look worse.
I think a greater period of time is necessary in this situations. The New York Mets fired Dave Eiland, but their pitching has under-performed long before he got hold of them. The Mets have much bigger problems.
I tend to place the blame with the Phillies upper management continuing into 2019 with the same starting rotation that let them down in 2018. I think that alone has been the biggest problem on this team.
Is Alec Bohm coming to the Phillies this year or next?
Phillies top prospect Alec Bohm has been rapidly moving up the Phillies minor league system. Drafted in 2018, Bohm spent just a cup of coffee in the rookie league that year before finishing the season with Class-A Short Season Williamsport. He began 2019 at the next level, Lakewood, before going to Class-A Advanced Clearwater. Bohm is now at Double-A Reading.
Bohm's combined numbers in 2019 are impressive: A .332 batting average, with eight home runs and 39 runs batted in. Four games in, Bohm is batting just .188 with Reading. That is not a large sample size, of course.
I think that Bohm will head to Reading, and if he continues to dominate, he could get a quick look at Triple-A before potentially getting a shot in September. However, I do not think that it is a likely bet. The reason? As many as 12 fewer players on a September roster.
As of 2019, September rosters will only expand to 28 players instead of 40. I can see the Phillies using the roster spots to add a third catcher (probably Devii Grullon), an additional reliever, and an extra bench bat. That probably does not mean there is room for Bohm.
I think the Phillies will add other bats by the July 31 trade deadline. But if Bohm remains hot and with an injury or two, things could change quickly. I would not rule it out, though I think a 2019 debut is unlikely.
If you could have one do-over of the four top 10 draft picks, who would it be and for which player?
This is a really good question. However, I tend to think that the Phillies have done rather well. The four players drafted top-ten would be Cornelius Randolph (2015), Mickey Moniak (2016), Adam Haseley (2017) and Alec Bohm (2018).
If we were to simply look at the names, the weakest link would be Randolph in 2015. That particular draft was important because that was the year that the rebuild was to finally take effect. The 2014 Phillies were so poor the Phillies ended up with a top-ten draft pick for the first time in years. It has not gone incredibly well.
The Phillies selected then-shortstop Randolph out of Griffin High School in Georgia. In Todd Zolecki's coverage of the pick, Zolecki wrote, "Randolph has drawn comparisons with Tony Gwynn, but time will tell." Randolph has hit closer to Tony Gwynn, Jr. than his father. Randolph is batting .234 at Double-A Reading this season.
But did the Phillies miss out? Not necessarily.
Ahead of Randolph were names such as Dansby Swanson, Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker, Andrew Benintendi, and Ian Happ. But below him in the first round, only Mike Siroka stands out as a player making a difference in the major leagues. It's hard to say that they should have picked someone else.
But give the Phillies credit: Round two of that draft they decided to draft a college player they thought could have a real impact in just a few years. That would be Scott Kingery, who is really becoming something.
Mickey Moniak got off to a slower start, career-wise and in 2019, but has been named to the Double-A Eastern League All-Star team. Moniak was selected out of high school in a rather underwhelming draft, so they were banking on developing him.
The number two overall pick, third baseman Nick Senzel, is having a nice season for the Cincinnati Reds. But he is older and had college experience, so he should be further ahead at this point. The overall picture remains to be seen.
The Phillies misfired a lot over the years with picks going to Joe Savery and Larry Greene, but the recent drafts overall seem pretty decent.