The shortstop for 2018’s Phillies Whiz Kids
While the faithful are waiting for tomorrow’s stars, a promotional delay has occurred one level away under general manager Matt Klentak of the Philadelphia Phillies.
History records plans in pencil and reality in ink because the future is subject to change, while the past isn’t.
If you’re reading this sentence, you’ve survived a brutal stretch of scheduling with two more difficult games ahead, and the question is will it get easier? Yes, because 29 of the next 35 contests after this series will only be difficult when the Phils face a hot team. For instance, when the last two series began, the Texas Rangers had six consecutive victories, and the Pittsburgh Pirates had one loss in their previous five games. In other words, rebuilding organizations take their lumps against contenders and streaking clubs. However, one can only hope that after 32 of 42 contests with the cards stacked against them, they can bounce back quickly.
- 9-23: The Nationals, Mets (before injuries), Dodgers, Cubs, Rangers, Pirates and Rockies.
- 6-4: The Reds, Braves, Marlins and Mariners.
By comparison, the 1950 Philadelphia Phillies dealt with injuries, not a scheduling nightmare. Managers in those days ordered players to spike their opponent’s stars. And even if a teammate was at fault, you defended him against your foe.
According to an article by Ralph Bergen for the Society for American Baseball Research, middle infielder Eddie Stanky of the New York Giants jumped up and down and waved his arms when catcher Andy Seminick, aka Grampa Whiz, was at the plate during a mid-August contest. Seminick turned to the home-plate umpire but the rules provided no remedy. So, when it happened again the next day, the extremely annoyed Seminick let his bat fly directly at Stanky. Then, after he singled on the next pitch, he ran following an extra-base knock with an all-out effort on his way around third to the plate and through the in-the-baseline third sacker, who lost consciousness and departed the game on a stretcher. Finally, when Stanky again repeated his distraction for Seminick, the umpire – who had enough – ejected the fielder.
On the final week of the season, Leo Durocher, the Giants’ manager, didn’t like the way Seminick was blocking the plate long before the runner arrived. And when the game went into extra innings, the skipper of this hated rival told Monte Irvin to plow into Seminick if he was trying to score: Irvin knocked him four feet in the air. However, Seminick unknowingly suffered a broken ankle, received novocaine shots to stay on the field, and played a doubleheader the next day. Ergo, his hitting declined.
IN OTHER WORDS:
“Branch Rickey once said of me that I was a man with an infinite capacity for immediately making a bad thing worse.” – Leo Durocher
For Granny Hamner, aka Granville, the pennant-winning campaign was his best to that point. He batted .270 with 11 homers and 82 RBIs for his third consecutive year of improvement. And while some fans remember him more for his nickname, he had other productive summers as well. His highest average was .299 in 1954, and he hit 21 home runs with 92 RBIs in 1953.
After listening to Andres Blanco‘s advice, Freddy Galvis quit looking over his shoulder regarding his Triple-A replacement. Moreover, he surprised many fans by whacking 20 long balls last season, and he continues to have a knack for clutch hits. Or so it seems. In fact, the thinking now is stellar defense and acceptable offense is livable in light of the slowed progress of his minor league competitor.
For the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs, J.P. Crawford averaged .244 in 2016 but had a slow start to this campaign. Since, however, April 23, he’s batting .237 and has improved his plate discipline overall. So, barring any unexpected developments, when will we see the young shortstop? September.
The Numerical Bible:
This review is not a sabermetrics article, which means no heavy statistical analysis. But because some readers rely on stats, this is only a reference: no reason to articulate the importance of these numbers.
Stats are through May 22.
- BB% for Crawford at 15% and Williams at 3.8%.
- K% for Crawford at 18.6% and Williams at 29.6%.
Stats are through May 22.
- Hamner, 23 in 1950: 157 Gms., 685 PA, a .270 Avg., a .314 OBP, a .380 SLG, a .110 ISO, a .272 BABIP, 11 HR, 82 RBI, a .694 OPS and a 2.3 fWAR.
- Galvis, 27.5: 43 Gms., 172 PA, a .241 Avg., a .281 OBP, a .405 SLG, a .165 ISO, a .262 BABIP, 4 HR, 24 RBI, a .686 OPS and a 0.4 fWAR.
- Crawford, 22.5: 39 Triple-A Gms., 167 PA, a .191 Avg., a .313 OBP, a .241 SLG, a .050 ISO, a .239 BABIP, 1 HR, 13 RBI, a .554 OPS and a 0.6 WARP.
- Seminick, 29 in 1950: 130 Gms., 467 PA, a .288 Avg., a .400 OBP, a .524 SLG, a .237 ISO, a .279 BABIP, 24 HR, 68 RBI, a .925 OPS and a 4.7 fWAR.
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