How the Philadelphia Phillies botched their rebuild — and what it tells us about tanking

How the Philadelphia Phillies botched their rebuild — and what it tells us about tanking
How the Philadelphia Phillies botched their rebuild — and what it tells us about tanking



Shut up.

    • Baseball Columnist / Bishop ESPN
    • Former editor of Baseball Avenue.
    • The only rule he co-authored is that it has to work.

Since mid-2015, when the youngest Phyllis reached her lowest point – poor, expensive and with a sterile farming system – she has had four managers, not to mention five stroke instructors and five throwing coaches. Managers, as Roger Angell wrote, always change when it becomes clear that something has to be done, although it is almost always clear that nothing can be done.

But CEOs are different. They change when it is clear that something must and can be done – which nowadays usually means ruining everything, making the team as bad as possible and rebuilding it. New GMOs are usually accompanied by lines and five-year plans, and this plan is both ambitious and permissive: It is not necessary to build five good teams, but only one that plays at the end of the reconstruction.

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Phyllis hired Matt Clenntack for this acquisition at the end of 2015. As bank robbers digging underground to reach the vault from below, Phyllis dug and dug and dug – but when they came out of her tunnel, they were in the Rite Aid toilet in front of the bank. Today, they are the first team in what can be called the tanning era of baseball to fail.

Phyllis, who still hasn’t won the season since 2011, has reached a point where the famous finalists – dear veteran stars – not only came in, but also left: Catchman Jake T. Realmuto is a free agent; starter Jake Arrieta has a three-year contract; David Robertson’s two-year tighter contract – remember? — …just expired, and there are reports that Jin Segura’s undercover will be involved in trade negotiations. Phyllis may be good, but he’s not:

  • young, because in 2020, their baseball players and pitchers were older than the league average.
  • cheap, because their salaries were in the top ten of the league before they left;
  • rich in prospects, as their agricultural system was in 10th place at the end of last year’s ranking;
  • Phyllis clearly claims a victory, as ZiPS expects Phyllis to win about 76 games next year.

They will also no longer be managed by Clentac, who resigned from his GM job during the off-season.

The demolition and reconstruction strategy has worked for newly hired GMs in Houston, Chicago, Atlanta and, to a lesser but greater extent, Milwaukee, and appears to have worked in San Diego and on the south coast of Chicago. All these teams reached the qualifications on time and most of them finished the game with the best teams of the last decades. What happened to Phyllis, and what does that tell us about the recovery?

Phyllis didn’t clearly ruin her restructuring. If teams go down this road – and if they can answer to them and their supporters – there are a few steps where things can go wrong:

Rather than judging the team’s success – or failure – against the shortened season, Sam Miller mentions a positive reminder of 2020 that any club can hold this winter. Sam Miller

You can start rebuilding when it’s too late, when there’s not much left to trade for the starting yeast. Phyllis started a little later – on Trading Day 2014 it was clear that they were supposed to be sellers, but instead they kept extra veterans like Antonio Bastardo and Marlon Bird. Even Reuben Amaro Jr., GM for Klentak, said recently that he would insist afterwards that the transition begin earlier. But only a few months later, they changed Bastardo and Baird, and when they seriously demolished them next summer, they still had a lot of players who wanted the other teams: Cole Hamels, Ken Giles, Chase Utley.

For some reason – bad deals, bad designs, bad development – they cannot succeed in improving the agricultural system. But Phyllis has improved the agricultural system by a ton. In 2012, their system ranked 29th out of 30 organisations (20 in 2015) and 5th in 2016, 2017 and 2018. By 2018, when the club was about to play for NL East, Philadelphia probably had the second-largest baseball culture system, as did young Major League players Rhys Hoskins and Aaron Nola, both of whom recently left the system.

If they start spending money on veterans again, they can get veterans who won’t play well in the end. But if there are successes and failures in any collection of offers, Phyllis usually adds good big leagues that have played well for her: Bryce Harper was one of the top 25 bombers in baseball, Phyllis, Zack Wheeler just received Sai Yang’s vote for his first year, Realmuto has been the best catcher in baseball for the last two seasons, Didi Gregory was the rebound season Phyllis bet on. Segura, Arrita and Andrew McCutchen are, just like Carlos Santana, the average players in the Major League this season, just like Phyllis. It’s from him that these players have been taken over. And when Phyllis was competitive in 2019, the three cheap tenants bought Klentak to improve the attack – Corey Dickerson, Jay Bruce and Brad Miller – all improved the attack, resulting in the club’s top three ball scores that year.

As a team, they cannot live up to expectations. But neither did Phyllis: In the past three seasons, ZiPS predicted that Phyllis would win 189 games. You’ve won 189 games.

So, what’s the guilt? It boils down to two things:

1. The prospects they developed did not develop until the end of.

In other words: Philadelphia made them promising, but they couldn’t make them the protagonists.

This failure can indeed be identified in two phases. Phyllis had a weak agricultural system in the first phase – the phase before perestroika – and almost every player in her system failed. Think of their prospects in 2013, when they will have one of the worst baseball systems in all respects. It’s one of the top ten expert evaluations at the moment:

1. Jesse Biddle
2. Michael Franco
3. Adam Morgan4. Roman Quinn
5. Tommy Joseph
6. Ethan Martin7. Cody Ashe8. Jonathan Pettibone
9. Carlos Tochy
10. Shane Watson

It’s obviously a lot of fake. In total, they threw about 500 innings and hit about 5,000 times in Majorca and produced 0.2 WAR – and not even all of them that 0.2 WAR for the Phillies. But nobody thought it was a good system, and a bunch of forgeries wasn’t much worse than expected. That’s why you’re cultivating: to surround a pile of scythes with a rich agricultural system.

But there is a rich agricultural system here, the best prospects for the 2016 system:

– J.P. Crawford
– Nick Williams
– Jake Thompson
– Franklin Kilome
– Roman Quinn
– Cornelius Randolph
– Marc Appel
– Jorge Alfaro
– Andrew Knapp
– Ben Lively

Not much better! The Baseball Meter has a small instrument that can be used to keep track of the progress of each team in last year’s top 30. Phillies’ homemade WAR came first, no matter how well the agricultural system works:

2012 : He was then on the 29th, 28th place in the WAR from
2013: He was then 24th, 23rd in WAR
2014: He was 25 at the time, and during World War II he was 25: He was then 20, 11 years old and took part in the war
2016: He was 4th, 24th in WAR
2017: At that time he was 5th and 19th in the Second World War.

Considerable progress has been made in the farmers’ system: Nola – an ace, Hoskins – in the fifth round and now – a middle class bat, and Sixto Sanchez – now in the Marlins – was made a Realmuto superstar receiver. But to compare with the young stars of the top league that other teams have developed (from drawings, international signatures or contracts) from their nadir of the season:

The astronauts: Carlos Correa, George Springer, Lance McCullers Jr. and Alex Bregman.

Cub Scouts: Anthony Rizzo, Chris Bryant, Javier Baez, Kyle Hendricks, Wilson Contreras.

Brave: Ronald Akuna Jr., Ozzy Albie, Dansby Swanson, Max Freed, Ian Anderson.

Brewers: Keston whore, Josh Hader, Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burns, Devin Williams.

Address: Fernando Tati Jr., Dinelson Lameth, Chris Paddak.

The White Sox: Lucas Diolito, Tim Anderson, Luis Robert, Ioan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez…

This is different: Phyllis 2020 has received about 3 WARs from the players who have developed it, a term that we will define to include any player who has lost his status as a newcomer to the franchise. The 2020 White Sox received about 8 WARs from these players. Only seven victories shared the records of the two teams in the tight schedule of 2020.

The other thing that played against her was a little more random.

2. variable vibration mode

Remember we said that the ZiPS projections extrapolated Phyllis’ total group benefits for the past three years to a single point. But this did not lead to victory in each of the three years. Phyllis should win 72 and 80 in 2018. In another, in 2019, Phyllis should win 87 and 81.

Maybe there’s something about the 500, the mediocrity these Phyllis are just attracted to. But there could also be many chances for the team to perform better or worse each year, and if so, it is easy to imagine that Phyllis could perform better in 2018 and win 66, while Phyllis could perform better in 2019 and win 95. In this case, we would not (yet) be talking about the failure of the plan, but about its proper functioning.

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Or think about this: In 2018 Phyllis won only 80 games, but took first place in August before collapsing in September. In 2019 Phyllis won only 81 races, but for the summer months she was in first place. In fact, Phyllis played two games over 500 in 2020, and in the sixth half of the year, the game for the National League play-offs takes place in the last eight games of the season. They collapse, go down 7-1 and fall from eighth and last place in qualifying.

Maybe Phyllis, as it was created, was built to collapse. But on the other hand, there can also be many possibilities. If two good halves of Phyllis were not the first half of 2018 and 2019, but, say, the first and second half of one of those years, they would be in the playoffs with 90 victories. If KOVID-19 had shortened one of the seasons 2018 or 2019 instead of 2020, they would have been in the play-offs. If KOWID reduced the year 2020 to 50 instead of 60 games, they would be in the playoffs. If KOWID had reduced them to 70 instead of 60 games, that would have been just as good as possible.

Apparently, the franchises are five years longer than the ones we mentioned here: Obvious failure. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. 1 The election of Mickey Moniac and the blatant success of Alec Bohm’s third general election; the unexpected breakthrough of Odubel Herrera’s fifth rule of choice, which was accepted just as honestly; the collapse of his career when Phyllis pulled his head out of that hole; Scott Kiney’s expansion for the demonstration and the hesitations that followed; the health of Vince Velasquez and the fact that by 2020 Phyllis had the worst paddock in the last 90 years; and especially the fact that she beat up four directors and five instructors, etcetera.д., may have contributed to the fact that those good odds didn’t lead to the majors.

You can’t predict a single day of baseball, and it’s terribly difficult to predict a year of baseball, or what a prospect will do or how a veteran will age after signing a three-year contract. But a five-year anniversary is a bet that in the long run, with the whole organization, it will be possible to tame this unpredictability. In many ways, Phyllis did: They have become cheaper, they have become younger, they have had All-Stars and MVP candidates, and they have even become much better than in 2015. They’ve been in, so to speak, three pennant races. But unpredictability has always been hidden. Nothing special against Phyllis, but this result should make us happy. Winning later is not much fun, but it would be even more unpleasant if their success was inevitable.

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