Phillies Mailbag: Resurgence, International Signings, Marsh
We are back once again with the 97.3 ESPN Phillies Mailbag. We take your questions and answer them on The Sports Bash with Mike Gill. Tune in Tuesday afternoons to hear your question answered on the air. Send questions any time to @FrankKlose on Twitter.
Are the Phillies back?
This is quite the departure from John's question last week, which was, "When does the season start?" But I'm going to actually answer the question "no". Here's why.
The big story the last couple of weeks with the Phillies is not the high-priced veterans, but the young talent that has come either via the system or through trades from the system. Namely: Bryson Stott, Alec Bohm, and Brandon Marsh.
Those three are the story. Marsh leads the team batting .364 and showing some power. Stott is second, batting .340 and Bohm is at .302. They have worked their way up the batting order and they might not come down.
Also, could one say that Nick Castellanos is "back?" After a down 2022, Castellanos is batting .307 with 10 doubles in 2023. That's the player that they thought they were signing. And while those doubles did not go over the fence, a two-homer game provided the first home runs of his season.
Kyle Schwarber is just okay so far. J.T. Realmuto has had some struggles, and Trea Turner is good so far. Still no Bryce Harper.
But those are the recipe for a good starting lineup to carry this Phillies team.
Why do some international players cost a fortune, like $3 million or $5 million, and some with the same tools like Hao Yu Lee cost $500,000 or $600,000?
This is an interesting question. Simply put, teams are capped at an international spending limit. They can trade for some extra, but the pool money is overall between about $4.75 million and $5.5 million on average.
Like the Major League Draft, there will be top dollars spent on those believed to be the top prospects. Someone like Hao Yu Lee, a top prospect in the Phillies system, was scouted in Taiwan by Sal Agostonelli. There might be the same demand for Lee as is in in the Dominican Republic, where 29 teams have facilities.
As an amateur who has not signed on with a professional team, he would just be subject to the international spending.
Players such as Shohei Ohtani hit veteran status in Japan and are essentially eligible to be "posted", meaning they have hit free agency like a player with six years service time in the United States does. So those players would cost a team the posting fee to the team, currently capped at $20 million.
Is Topper going to let Brandon Marsh play more against left-handers?
Absolutely. That was always the plan for Brandon Marsh. Then the Phillies added Cristian Pache, who they needed to see something out of. By the way, the latest Kevin Long reclamation project is starting to look like it's paying dividends. But even as Pache is emerging, you will see more of Marsh.
Instead of Josh Harrison in left field, you might see Pache against left-handed pitching, while Marsh remains in center. Edmundo Sosa can play third base, while Alec Bohm plays first base.
Marsh, of course, is hitting the cover off the ball. Now batting .364 with an OPS of 1.213, there is no way that Marsh can be kept out of the lineup. I would expect to see him there every day.