Monday, February 27, 2017

Phillies Alumni and Fan Favorites (including Mike Trout)

2016 Chachi Alumni #8
I introduced an Alumni insert set within last year's overall Chachi offering, and in checking my records, I realized I never officially released the final card in that eight-card set.  To right that wrong, Shane Victorino's 2016 Chachi Alumni card is presented here and I believe it's one of his few (if not his only) virtual baseball card featuring him with the Cubs.  Victorino was signed by the Cubs as a minor league free agent last February 26th, but a little over a month later he was released.

I wanted to repeat the alumni theme this year, but I also wanted to include a card for non-alumni, but Phillies Room favorite, Mike Trout.  Therefore, after careful consideration, I'm introducing the new 2017 Chachi Fan Favorites set . . . which consists entirely of Phillies alumni and Trout.

Chase Utley in blue is still a strange sight for me, as is Cole Hamels with a full mountain man beard. But perhaps the strangest sight this year is that of Jimmy Rollins in Giants orange and black.  Rollins has a chance to make the club as a back-up infielder.  I'll add to this checklist as more Phillies players move around or as additional players are deemed worthy enough to be called Chachi Fan Favorites. (Suggestions welcome!)

2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #1
2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #2
2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #3
2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #4
2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #5
2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #6
2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #7
2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #8
2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #9
2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #10
2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #11

Sunday, February 26, 2017

2016 Topps Heritage Minor League #106 Nick Williams

Phillies 10, Blue Jays 3
Spring Training Game 3 - Sunday Afternoon, February 26th in Dunedin
Record - 2-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies took advantage of sloppy play from the Blue Jays to notch an easy 10-3 victory.

What It Means:  Jeremy Hellickson, the likely opening day starter, made his 2017 debut and allowed two runs of four hits in his two innings of work.

What Happened:  The offense managed 13 hits while striking out 15 times.  Cam Perkins continued his hot start with two more hits and Nick Williams had a two-run single in the sixth.  Andres Blanco added a solo home run.  Ben Lively and Alberto Tirado both pitched two shutout innings, striking out two a piece.

Featured Card:  New hitting coach Matt Stairs has spent a lot of time this spring working with Williams, who struggled in the second half of last season at Triple-A.  Still one of the top prospects in the organization, the hope is that he can make it to the Majors this season.  Like Perkins, Williams was added to the Phillies Room Favorites club when he signed autographs for our sons at an IronPigs game last September.

This is his 1967 Topps inspired card from last year's Topps Heritage Minor League set.

Camp Head Count:  62

2016 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs #25 Brock Stassi

Phillies 6, Yankees 5
Spring Training Game 2 - Saturday Afternoon, February 25th in Clearwater
Record - 1-1

One Sentence Summary:  Brock Stassi delivered the game-winning hit in the ninth and Maikel Franco hit two home runs in a 6-5 win over the Yankees.

What It Means:  The Phils captured their first win of many of the 2017 season.  Let's start the regular season now!

What Happened:  Stassi's hit broke a 5-5 tie and scored Roman Quinn with the winning run.  Franco hit one legitimate home run and what was ruled an inside-the-park home run after the ball was lodged under the outfield wall but the umpires did not stop play.  Rhys Hoskins also hit his first home run of the spring.

Adam Morgan threw two scoreless innings to start the game, and there's talk of Morgan joining the bullpen this season as a long man.

Featured Card:  Stassi has somehow avoided inclusion in any Bowman-related sets, and to date his only baseball cards can be found within Phillies minor league team sets.  Stassi even avoided being featured on his 2016 IronPigs card from last year's team set, as the card pictures Tommy Joseph in action at first base and not Stassi.

Camp Head Count:  62

Saturday, February 25, 2017

2014 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs Update #21 Cameron Perkins

Yankees 9, Phillies 4
Spring Training Game 1 - Friday Afternoon, February 24th in Tampa
Record - 0-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Yankees used the long-ball to defeat the Phillies in the spring opener, 9-4.

What It Means:  Not a great start to the spring for the Phillies, but as one of the oldest baseball clichés goes . . . it's still early.

What Happened:  Didi Gregorius hit Alec Asher's first pitch of the spring for a solo home run to start the first.  The Phillies didn't have a hit (or a baserunner) until the seventh inning.  Cam Perkins and Brock Stassi both hit solo home runs in the ninth.  Nick Pivetta was the only Phillies pitcher to have a decent afternoon, throwing two shutout innings and striking out three.

Featured Card:  Perkins became an instant Phillies Room Favorite when he signed autographs for our sons at an IronPigs game in September.  He only has one readily available Phillies card to date, found within the 2014 Bowman Chrome set.  This is first IronPigs card from 2014.

Camp Head Count:  62

Friday, February 24, 2017

2016 Choice Reading Fightin Phils Top Prospects #2 Dylan Cozens

Phillies 6, Spartans 0
Exhibition Game - Thursday Afternoon, February 23rd in Clearwater

One Sentence Summary:  BASEBALL!

What It Means:  Before the official exhibition season begins, the Phillies have in recent years played a pre-exhibition game against a college team.  Statistics from these pre-exhibition games don't count towards the official spring tally, but the game is a nice way for me to dust off my game summary post skills.

What Happened:  Roman Quinn (2 for 3, two runs scored, solo home) and Dylan Cozens (2 for 3, 4 RBIs, 2-run home run) paced the offense as the Phillies top prospects defeated the University of Tampa squad.  Mark Leiter, Jr. and six other pitchers held the Spartans to two hits.

Featured Card:  Cozens gets the honors in this year's first pre-exhibition, non-official game summary post.  The Reading Fightin Phils, Double-A affiliate for the Phillies, issued four separate team sets last season and that doesn't include their special 50 Greatest Players give-away set.  This card, from the 11-card Top Prospects set, has a vague 1956 Topps-ish vibe.

Camp Head Count:  62.  The Phillies broke camp with four fewer players than last season when they carried 66 players at the outset of spring training.  I'll track the departure of 37 players as the team shrinks its roster to the 25 who will head north.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Checking in with a Few Ex-Phillies

2017 Chachi Departures #11
2017 Chachi Departures #13
2017 Chachi Departures #14
We're inching closer to actual game action in 2017, and I wanted to check in on the comings and goings since the last Phillies game was played in October.  A number of former Phillies signed minor league contracts throughout January and early February, and they've joined the highly collectible Chachi Departures insert set.  Here's a look at the master checklists for the latest ex-Phillies.

Jimmy Paredes Chachi Checklist
2016 Chachi Archives #5
2016 Chachi #44
2016 Chachi Photo Day #13
2017 Chachi Departures #11

Severino Gonzalez Chachi Checklist
2015 Chachi #36
2016 Chachi #47
2017 Chachi Departures #13

Peter Bourjos Chachi Checklist
2016 Chachi New Additions #5
2016 Chachi #7
2016 Chachi Photo Day #28
2017 Chachi Departures #14
2017 Chachi Departures #15
2017 Chachi Departures #16
James Russell Chachi Checklist
2016 Chachi #21
2017 Chachi Departures #15

David Hernandez Chachi Checklist
2016 Chachi New Additions #6
2016 Chachi #24
2016 Chachi Archives #10
2016 Chachi Photo Day #16
2017 Chachi Departures #16

If my tracking is correct, the only members of the 2016 Phillies squad still seeking employment are Ryan Howard, Cedric Hunter and Frank Herrmann.  Hunter, last year's opening day right fielder, received a 50-game suspension in November for testing positive for amphetamine.

Moving On - 2016-2017 Offseason
  • Cedric Hunter - of (10/3/16) - Elected free agency.
  • James Russell - lhp (10/3/16) - Elected free agency and signed as a minor league free agent with the Cleveland Indians, 2/13/17.
  • Emmanuel Burriss - inf (10/7/16) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency and signed as a minor league free agent with the Washington Nationals, 12/13/16.
  • Frank Herrmann - rhp (10/7/16) - Outrighted off 40-man roster and elected free agency.
  • Jimmy Paredes - of (10/7/16) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency and signed with the Chiba Lotte Marines (Japan), 1/15/17.
  • Patrick Schuster - lhp (10/7/16) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency and signed as a minor league free agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers, 11/5/16.
  • Ryan Howard - 1b (11/3/16) - Team option declined and elected free agency.
  • Charlie Morton - rhp (11/3/16) - Team option declined, elected free agency and signed with the Houston Astros, 11/16/16.
  • Peter Bourjos - of (11/3/16) - Elected free agency and signed as a minor league free agent with the Chicago White Sox, 1/27/17.
  • A.J. Ellis - c (11/3/16) - Elected free agency and signed with the Miami Marlins, 12/12/16.
  • David Hernandez - rhp (11/3/16) - Elected free agency and signed as a minor league free agent with the San Francisco Giants, 2/14/17.
  • Darin Ruf - 1b-of and Darnell Sweeney - inf-of (11/11/16) - Traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Howie Kendrick.
  • Elvis Araujo - rhp (11/18/16) - Claimed off waivers by the Miami Marlins.
  • David Buchanan - rhp (11/23/16) - Released and signed with the Yakult Swallows (Japan), 12/20/16.
  • Cody Asche - of (12/2/16) - Designated for assignment, non-tendered and signed as a minor league free agent with the Chicago White Sox, 1/6/17.
  • Phil Klein - rhp (12/14/16) - Released and signed with the Yokohama BayStars (Japan), 12/20/16.
  • Severino Gonzalez - rhp (1/19/17) - Designated for assignment and traded to the Miami Marlins for a player to be named later or cash considerations, 1/24/17.
Coming Back
  • Jeremy Hellickson - rhp (11/3/16) - Elected free agency, accepted team's qualifying offer, 11/14/16.
  • Andres Blanco - inf (11/3/16) - Elected free agency, resigned by the Phillies to a one-year contract, 12/14/16.
New Additions - 2016-2017 Offseason
  • Pat Neshek - rhp (11/4/16) - Acquired from the Houston Astros for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
  • Howie Kendrick - lf (11/11/16) - Acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Darin Ruf and Darnell Sweeney.
  • Joaquin Benoit - rhp (12/6/16) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • Clay Buchholz - rhp (12/20/16) - Acquired from the Boston Red Sox for Josh Tobias.
  • Michael Saunders - of (1/19/17) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Already Gone - 2016-2017 Offseason
  • David Rollins - lhp (12/2/16) - Claimed off waivers from the Texas Rangers.  Designated for assignment, 12/14/16.
  • Richie Shaffer - 3b (12/14/16) - Claimed off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.  Designated for assignment, 12/20/16.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

WE MADE IT. Longest Offseason Ever Ends Today.

2017 Chachi Preview #5
After a winter of mostly discontent, you may feel a little like Freddy Galvis looks in this photo - tired, confused and slightly disheveled.

Well the good news is that pitchers and catchers officially report to Clearwater today and the welcome distraction of baseball is back.  Play ball!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Coghlan Joins Ranks of Non-Roster Invitees

2016 Topps Update #US274
Outfielder Chris Coghlan was signed by the Phillies on Friday to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.  Coghlan has a decent chance of making the team's opening day roster as a back-up outfielder.  The 2009 National League Rookie of the Year while with the Marlins, Coghlan earned a World Series ring last season with the Cubs.  In 99 games with both the Cubs and Athletics, he hit .188 with 6 home runs and 30 RBIs.

Strangely enough, Coghlan's most recent mainstream baseball card can be found within the 2016 Topps Update set showing him with the Cubs although he already had a card within the first series of the flagship set also showing him with the Cubs.  Wrigley Wax covered this oddity in a post here. Coghlan also appeared in last year's Topps Heritage set.

Player (position) - 2016 Organization - Last Major Baseball Card Appearance
1.  Sean Burnett (lhp) - Nationals/Dodgers/Braves/Twins/Nationals - 2014 Topps #68 (Angels)
2.  Pedro Florimon (inf) - Pirates - 2014 Topps #568 (Twins)
3.  Hector Gomez (inf) - Korea - 2015 Topps Update #US229 (Brewers)
4.  Daniel Nava (of) - Angels/Royals - 2016 Topps Now #293 (Angels)
5.  Bryan Holaday (c) - Tigers/Rangers/Red Sox - 2014 Topps Update #US117 (Tigers)
6.  Cesar Ramos (lhp) - Rangers/Tigers - 2015 Topps Update #US293 (Angels)
7.  Victor Arano (rhp) - Phillies - 2015 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs #BCAP-VA (Phillies)
8.  Pedro Beato (rhp) - Orioles - 2011 Topps Chrome #199 (Mets)
9.  J.P. Crawford (inf) - Phillies - 2016 Bowman's Best Top Prospects #TP12 (Phillies)
10.  Taylor Featherston (inf) - Angels/Phillies - 2015 Topps Update #US148 (Angels)
11.  Dalier Hinojosa (rhp) - Phillies - 2015 Immaculate Collection #151 (Red Sox)
12.  Rhys Hoskins (1b) - Phillies - 2016 Bowman Draft #BD186 (Phillies)
13.  Scott Kingery (inf) - Phillies - 2016 Bowman Draft #BD128 (Phillies)
14.  Michael Mariot (rhp) - Phillies - N/A
15.  Logan Moore (c) - Phillies - 2011 Bowman Draft Chrome Prospects #BDPP44 (Phillies)
16.  Colton Murray (rhp) - Phillies - 2016 Topps #488 (Phillies)
17.  Chace Numata (c) - Phillies - N/A
18.  Cam Perkins (of) - Phillies - 2014 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP86 (Phillies)
19.  Andrew Pullin (of) - Phillies - 2012 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks #BDPP59 (Phillies)
20.  Brock Stassi (1b) - Phillies - N/A
21.  Ryan Hanigan (c) - Red Sox - 2016 Topps Heritage #694 (Red Sox)
22.  Chris Coghlan (of) - Cubs/Athletics/Cubs - 2016 Topps Update #US274 (Cubs)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

New Phillies Uniform Numbers (Getting Closer to Clearwater!)

2016 Topps Heritage #547
2016 Topps Heritage #590
2016 Topps Heritage #694
2016 Topps Heritage #575
At some point over the past few days, I checked the Phillies roster page on their official website and noticed that the dreaded "--" in place of a uniform number for all new players had been replaced with actual uniform numbers.  Friends, this is yet another milestone to the glorious promised land that is spring training.

Here's a look at the new uniform numbers assigned to the newest members of the 2017 Phillies.

New Players (and a Coach) - Under 60 Division
  • #5 Michael Saunders - Departed hitting coach Steve Henderson was #5 last year and the #21 Saunders wore the past few seasons with the Blue Jays had already been claimed by newcomer Clay Buchholz.
  • #15 Sean Burnett - Emmanuel Burriss wore this number in 2016.
  • #17 Pat Neshek - With Peter Bourjos moving on, Neshek reclaims the number he wore with the Twins from 2006 to 2010.
  • #18 Pedro Florimon - Florimon takes Darin Ruf's old number.
  • #21 Clay Buchholz - With #11 unofficially retired (see below), the new starting pitcher takes #21.  Buchholz has previously worn #11 and #61 with the Red Sox.
  • #25 Daniel Nava - Nava will wear the number worn by Cody Asche the prior four seasons.
  • #34 Ryan Hanigan - Hanigan takes over the number worn by both Brett Oberholtzer and A.J. Ellis last year.
  • #40 Matt Stairs - Mickey Morandini already has #12, the number Stairs wore as a player with the Phillies, so the new hitting coach claims the number worn briefly last season by James Russell.
  • #47 Howie Kendrick - No surprise here as the veteran has worn #47 for his entire 11-year career.  Charlie Morton wore the number last season for his four starts.
  • #53 Joaquin Benoit - Daniel Stumpf, Frank Herrmann and now Joaquin Benoit are the most three recent #53s for the Phillies.
  • #54 Pedro Beato - It appears as if Brad Lidge's number has been officially-unofficially retired.  I don't believe anyone has worn this number for the Phillies since Lidge's final appearance in 2011.  (Matt Harrison had been assigned the number when he came over from the Rangers in the Cole Hamels deal, but he never actually put on a Phillies uniform.)
  • #55 Cesar Ramos - David Buchanan last wore #55 during the 2015 season.
  • #59 Bryan Holaday - Elvis Araujo's old number goes to Holaday.
New Numbers
2016 Topps Heritage #542

  • #30 Taylor Featherston - With Buchholz taking #21, Featherston switches to the number worn by reliever David Hernandez last season.
Highest Number
No one touches Dalier Hinojosa and his #94, but Drew Anderson and his #86 comes the closest.

Numbers Available - Unofficially Retired Division
The Phillies have an unwritten tradition of not giving out the uniform numbers of recently departed franchise players.  For that reason, no one on the roster has been assigned #6 (Ryan Howard), #11 (Jimmy Rollins), #26 (Chase Utley), #35 (Cole Hamels) or #51 (Carlos Ruiz).

Numbers Available - Up for Grabs Division
Of the numbers still available, I'm surprised no one has claimed #3 which was worn last season by David Lough.  This could be reserved for Chris Coghlan, who wore the number last season with the Athletics and who was recently signed on Friday.  #41 (Jimmy Paredes) and #43 (Phil Klein) are still available, as is #52 (Severino Gonzalez).

Memory Lane
2013 New Numbers
2014 New Numbers - Part One and Part Two
2015 New Numbers
2016 New Numbers - Part One and Part Two

Friday, February 3, 2017

The First Phillie of 2017

My wife Jenna was kind enough to stop at Target on her way home from work this evening, and when I arrived home there was an assortment of 2017 Topps packs to be opened.  In what seems as if it's possibly the longest offseason in the history of the world, opening a fresh pack of the new year's baseball cards is pure joy.

2017 Topps #142
While this year's flagship design isn't great, I like it better than the 2016 design.  The smoky corners are gone and in their place we get a bunch of criss-crossing silver lines and rectangles.  I'm grateful (again) for the lack of silver foil on the front of the cards, but I don't like the distorted and smooshed team logos.  I get that Topps is going for a 3D-ish, futuristic design here but I'm still stuck wishing that every set looked something like the Topps sets from the 1970s.  I suppose the kids will like the design and (more importantly for Topps) the cards will work well in multiple colors on their Bunt app.  For the record, Doug (10 years old) really likes the cards and Ben (6 years old) just hopes that Ben Revere is included within the set.

Full career statistics are gone from the backs of the cards.  That doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would and I really like the full-bleed, team color-coded design on the backs.  Each player also has his Twitter or Instagram user name featured on the backs or if the player doesn't yet participate in social media there's a generic #TOPPSBASEBALL that appears.

Hector Neris was The First Phillie this year.  He was in the first pack I opened, and because of his lack of social media accounts he gets the #TOPPSBASEBALL treatment on the back of his card. Doug's First (non-official) Phillie card was Howie Kendrick (with the Dodgers) and Ben also pulled a Neris card as his First Phillie.

I could complain more about the collation (lots of doubles) or the non-essential inserts, but I won't.  I have new baseball cards to sort tonight and all is right with the world for a little while.

Past First Phillies