Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Hoodwink’d       by  cj hood
Who’s Who?!?

                When I was in high school I’d get these Who’s Who letters in the mail that with a small fee I would be able to join their elite list of academic all stars.   They must have sent these letters to everyone cuz in high school I was saddling a steady B- average at best.  Needless to say, that’s why I ended up going to the same college as the Wriz.  Anywho, the ‘Bunts blog has been desolate since last June after our Phillies decided to give themselves the sleeper-hold and tap out.  However, enter Andy McPhail (that name still scares me) and his boy wonder Matt Klentak and exit First Base Coach aficionado Ruben Amaro Jr and all of sudden we’re knee deep into a rebuild.  I wouldn’t compare this Jenny Jones makeover to slapping a wig on the middle child and calling her the ‘new Jan Brady’, but it definitely has the phans & bloggers taking notice.
                This takes us to the title of this episode of Hoodwink’d, ‘Who’s Who.’  Since last year’s trade deadline I find myself asking ‘who’s this?’ or fellow ‘Buntamaniacs asking me ‘who’s that?.’  And truth be told, I’m a little confused myself.  For years, we knew every Phillie and their position like our own children, but now it’s as challenging as finding a Republican volunteer at a soup kitchen. 
Now,  all 2 of our steady readers know that I’m the clown prince of this organization, Netfather Bill’s our historian and the Wriz is the X’s & O’s guy.  And DB29 (when available),  can tell you which parts of CB park are safe to pick food up off the ground (after being dropped) and still eat it.  Irregardless (not a real word), I’m going to attempt to break these new faces down for your…especially the ones worth watching.

I’ll start with some familiar faces from last season…

Maikel Franco 3B:  My personal fave is a player you should already know.  He came up last summer and was a wonder at the plate.  He was coasting along til he got beamed in the wrist by new Phillies pitcher Jeremy Hellickson.  Mike Schmidt thinks Franco will be an MVP someday while Mackanin thinks he’ll be a homerun king.  I reluctantly dropped Franco from my fantasy keeper league, but hope to draft him again.

Odubel Herrera CF:  Infielder by nature (not cuz I hate ya), El Torrito was a Rule 5 pickup and another shining star in this rebuild.  Even though he can’t speak the King’s English I’m still down with this workhorse.

Cesar Hernandez 2B:  I don’t know how to put that funky slash over the ‘e’ so deal.  Anywho, Cesar came into take golden boy Chase Utley’s spot when he was traded to LA.  He might lose his job to Freddy Galvis when JP Crawford comes up to play SS in July, but time will tell.

Cameron Rupp C:  Every time I see this dude I think, ‘he’s too tall to be a catcher.’  Anyway, with a stronger bat and healthier knees, Rupp saw more time at the end of the season than phan favorite Carlos Ruiz.  However, with Jorge Alfaro waiting in the wings Rupp’s days are sure to be numbered.

Darin Ruf OF, 1B, Restroom Attendant:  Ruff is like the girl you called every weekend at 2am, but ignored during daylight hours.  Ruff is killing it at the plate compared to Howard (which isn’t saying much) so put Howard out to pasture as well as the term ‘platoon.’  As I write this, McPhail is on record saying that there’s no guarantee Howard will make the roster.

Aaron Altherr OF:  Imagine Bizarro Domonic Brown.  This homegrown talent was supposed to be the second coming of Jayson Werth til he got hurt diving for a ball in Spring Training.  He could be back by late July if at all.  This injury was the first major blow to this rebuild.

JP Crawford SS:  Philadelphians haven’t been this excited over a young African American athlete since Adonis Creed.  Crawford is putting balls in orbit all over the minors something the Phils desperately need.  Bowa is comparing Crawford to J*Roll on steroids and when this golden child is ready either Galvis or Hernandez will be packing their bags.

Jorge Alfaro C:  Acquired from Texas in the Hamels/Diekman trade, Alfaro is supposed to be the best catching prospect in all of baseball.  Alfaro is sure to be the heir to Chooch’s thrown and a worthy one to boot.

Tyler Goeddel OF:  Forgot about this guy til the Wriz reminded me.  Goeddel  is the result of our piss poor effort in 2015.  Our 1st round pick in the Rule 5 draft hopes to be the right handed bat that the Phils have been looking for.

New to the bump…

Charlie Morton P:  Acquired by the Pirates, Morton will be part of the new starting 5.  I’m cool with that as long as his name is Morton and not Harrang. And that’s all I have to say about that. #gump

Jerad Eickoff:  Also acquired from Texas, Eickoff was billed as major league ready and is sure to make the starting rotation.

Jeremy Hellickson P:  Former Arizona Diamondback, Jeremy (spoken) is a reliable arm at a bargain basement rate.  He’ll help eat up innings for our bull-less pen.

Vincent Vasquez P:  Acquired from Houston on the Giles trade, Vasquez is the pitcher I fell most phans are excited to see.  With Nola, Morton, Hellickson & Eickhoff, the final spot is Vasquez’ to lose.

David Hernandez P:  Pap out! Giles out! Hernandez in?  Diamond Dave thinks so.  Another banged up athlete has stumbled into the City of Brotherly Love thinking he could get the job diz-one.  We all know Philly wasn’t his first choice, so if he doesn’t want to become Pap 2.0 (as far as phan favorites go)  then he better bring it!

Aaron Nola P:  AKA the ‘new Jan Brady’ BKA the ‘new Cole Hamels’.  We saw this rook represent the second half of last season and although he’s had a slow Spring,  Nola’s tapped to be the Opening Day starter and our new #1.

PotPourri for $500 Alex:
-Frenchy’s gone.  Already miss him.
-Cody Asche is hurt and might be traded.
-David Buchanan is back.  Not a big fan.
-Nick Williams (OF) was invited to ST, but sent back
-Pete Bourjos (OF) formally of St. Louis may take Altherr’s spot.

I’m sure I missed some ish and made a few blunders, but I needed to get this done for my own sanity.  BTW, the Wriz and I have a wager for how many games the Phillies will win this year.  If they win 69+ then I’ll be enjoying a case of some high octane road sodas by the end of Fall.  I don’t think this team will make the playoffs just yet, but they’re definitely going to be better than what everybody’s predicting.  And teams that play like they have nothing to lose always seem to find a way to win.  Needless to say I am excited over  our new team and feel that Batman & Klentak have done a great job thus far.  I’m also excited to see my first On Deck Series on April 1st (no joke).  Meet & Greet VI is June 18th….let’s get ‘bunted!!!

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