Early Grades for All of Philadelphia Phillies' Offseason Acquisitions
While not nearly as flashy as past offseasons, the Philadelphia Phillies made a plethora of moves this past offseason. And as they finish up the first sixth of the season with an even 13-13 record, the Phillies are at the point where their offseason acquisitions can be graded with a relatively decent sample size.
All acquisitions will be graded on an A+ to F scale. Hitters will primarily be graded on batting average, on-base percentage and slugging, while pitchers will be graded on ERA, FIP (now found on Baseball-Reference.com) and WHIP.
Other stats, such as home runs and RBI for hitters and wins/losses and strikeouts for pitchers, will be included, but will factor less into the player's grade.
Carlos Ruiz will be excluded since this slideshow does not include players who were re-signed by the Phillies.
OF Marlon Byrd
Stats: .277/.311/.426/.737, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 6 2B
Marlon Byrd's signing to a two-year, $16 million contract was widely panned, but it has worked out rather well so far for the Phillies. He's put up solid offensive numbers, and his three home runs have him tied for second in the category on a power-starved Phillies team. Byrd's defense has also been stellar, and he sports a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.
While his OBP leaves something to be desired at .311, his average of .277 isn't terrible. Sure, a .737 OPS could be better, but Byrd has time to make up for it. He's also fourth in OPS on the team of its everyday starters, so the front office isn't complaining by any means.
Byrd has put together a season that the Phillies expected when they signed him. No serious complaints here, but he hasn't been dominant enough to get an A.
April Grade: B+
C Wil Nieves
Stats: .263/.263/.368/.632, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2 2B
When the Phillies traded Erik Kratz and signed Wil Nieves in a matter of hours, the move raised some questions. Kratz had been more than serviceable as the team's backup catcher, so why did they go with a player older and less familiar?
Nieves has had only five games to prove his worth, but he's done a nice job. His batting average of .263 definitely suffices, and while he hasn't hit any home runs, 19 at-bats doesn't exactly give you a heaping load of opportunities to do that.
The OPS is a problem, especially his .263 OBP. However, his small sample size means that there is a little more room for error. Nieves won't be getting any terrific grades, but he's not failing, either.
April Grade: C
OF Tony Gwynn Jr.
Stats: .242/.342/.303/.645, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2 2B
Signed to a minor-league deal this offseason, Tony Gwynn Jr. has already exceeded expectations by making the major league roster out of spring training. He's played decently, posting so-so offensive numbers while also making no errors with the glove.
Gwynn's batting average is subpar, as is his slugging percentage. But his OBP of .342 is somewhat strong, so he gets plenty of credit for that. Given that Gwynn isn't much of a power threat to begin with, the numbers he's posted have lined up with what's to be expected for a player of his ilk.
April Grade: B
INF Jayson Nix
Stats: .161/.188/.258/.446, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Even though he's had only 31 at-bats to his name, batting as poorly as Jayson Nix has doesn't cut it anywhere.
With only five hits on the season, Nix has looked awful at the plate, while his .962 fielding percentage is a bit misleading since he's made only one error on the season. Nevertheless, Nix's OBP is atrocious, as is his slugging percentage.
What saves Nix is that he's managed to hit a home run, but he's as close to failure as players come. How would Reid Brignac have done had he made the team? It's worth wondering at this point.
April Grade: D-
SP A.J. Burnett
Stats: 1-1, 2.15 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 1.27 WHIP, .230 BAA, 28 K (6 GS)
A.J. Burnett was supposed to be the saving grace of the pitching staff when he signed in late January. With an injury to Cole Hamels that cost him all of spring training and most of April, the Phillies needed more veteran depth behind Cliff Lee. Burnett was that guy.
After a first few starts that were middling at best, Burnett has turned up the heat in his last three starts. He's earned his first win as a Phillie and has put up incredible numbers since being diagnosed with an inguinal hernia, per Bill Baer of HardBallTalk.
Burnett has settled into the Phillies rotation, and as long as his hernia doesn't worsen, he should be the team's best right-handed starter.
April Grade: A-
SP Roberto Hernandez
Stats: 1-1, 5.74 ERA, 4.47 FIP, 1.54 WHIP, .275 BAA, 26 K (6 G, 5 GS)
Roberto Hernandez was signed at the end of the winter meetings back in early December. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. entered the meetings wanting a starting pitcher. For all intents and purposes, he got one, though he could have done much better.
Hernandez relies heavily on his sinker, and it just hasn't sunk well in 2014. It's resulted in a 5.74 ERA and 1.54 WHIP.
He's got plenty of time to improve, but Hernandez has not looked good in a Phillies uniform so far. The fact that he's healthy and still in the rotation saves him from a failing grade, but he's not far from it.
April Grade: D
RP Jeff Manship
Stats: 1-0, 5.87 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 1.70 WHIP, .258 BAA, 6 K (9 G)
Signed as a relative no-name to a minor league contract, Jeff Manship pulled a Tony Gwynn Jr. and made the team out of spring training. Brought onto the 25-man roster as a long reliever, Manship has pitched in a variety of situations. He's had middling success, but as his FIP indicates, some of it has been bad luck.
Manship is not destined for the All-Star Game. But he should be better than he's been, and there's little to suggest that he won't improve as the season progresses. However, this is a slideshow on grades for performance past, and for that, Manship won't be sugarcoated.
April Grade: C-
RP Brad Lincoln
Stats: 0-0, 11.57 ERA, 8.26 FIP, 2.14 WHIP, .417 BAA, 2 K (2 G)
Does Brad Lincoln's grade need much discussion? After two lousy games to begin the year, Lincoln was demoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He also cleared waivers after being outrighted off the 40-man roster, meaning that no other team in baseball wanted him. Ouch.
Lincoln still has not resurfaced in the majors, and it could be some time before he does. The Phillies will need him to succeed due to their horribly-thin bullpen depth. For now, though, they need him to compose himself in the minors.
Due to his demotion and terrible stats, Lincoln's grade speaks for itself.
April Grade: F
RP Shawn Camp
Stats: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 3.12 FIP, 1.80 WHIP, .429 BAA, 0 K (2 G)
Shawn Camp was not one of the Phillies' choices for the Opening Day bullpen. However, due to ineffective performances by Brad Lincoln, Justin De Fratus, and B.J. Rosenberg, Camp had an opportunity arise for him to make the majors.
Although he's had only two appearances, Camp has pitched well in both of them from an ERA standpoint. He's also let those appearances get a bit dicey, though, as evidenced by his 1.80 WHIP and .429 BAA.
Camp hasn't pitched enough to warrant a grade, but if he can keep his ERA close to its current 0.00 figure, he'll be a mainstay in the Phillies bullpen for the majority of 2014.
April Grade: Incomplete