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Breaking Down the Phillies’ Trade Deadline

Heading into the trade deadline, the Phillies needed a starting pitcher, center fielder, and bullpen help. They addressed those needs by acquiring SP Noah Syndergaard from the Angels for OF Mickey Moniak and OF Jadiel Sanchez, OF Brandon Marsh from the Angels for C Logan O’Hoppe, and RHP David Robertson from the Cubs for RHP Ben Brown. They also acquired SS Edmundo Sosa from the Cardinals for LHP JoJo Romero.

While these are not trades that are going to put the Phillies in the same class as the best teams in baseball, they make the roster better, and will help them compete for a playoff spot heading into the final two months of the season.

Additions:

Noah Syndergaard is not the pitcher he was before his Tommy John surgery. His velocity is down and he does not have the same strikeout numbers he has had in the past, but he has been solid so far this season. In 80 innings, he has a 105 ERA+ and 3.95 FIP. He uses 5 pitches; a sinker, changeup, 4-seam fastball, slider, and curveball.

Looking deeper into Syndergaard’s numbers shows that he limits hard hits. He sits in the 71st percentile in hard hit percentage, but he does not get a lot of swings and misses. He is in the 30th percentile in whiff percentage and induces ground balls 44.8% of the time when a ball is put in play. His batted ball profile is similar to fellow Phillies’ starter Kyle Gibson. He sits below the 40th percentile in xBA, xSLG, and barrel percentage. Syndergaard’s xERA is 4.25 and is in the 35th percentile.

Considering they are not one of best defensive teams in baseball, Syndergaard could get hurt by pitching for the Phillies, although their defense has improved lately. When comparing the two, the Angels’ infield defense isn’t that much better than the Phillies’ (-7 OAA vs. -11 OAA).

The Phillies needed another starting pitcher, and while Syndergaard isn’t a top of the rotation arm, he is a good pitcher to have towards the back end of the rotation. An interesting note about Syndergaard is that he has not pitched on normal rest once this season, so that could be something to monitor as he starts pitching for the Phillies.

Brandon Marsh is going to be the every day center fielder according to Phillies’ manager Rob Thomson. To make room for Marsh, the Phillies designated Odubel Herrera for assignment. Marsh is 24 and isn’t arbitration eligible until 2025. He has appeared in 163 games at the big league level, and before breaking into the majors, was a highly regarded prospect in the Angels’ system.

He showed the ability to draw walks and had power at the plate in the minors, but this has not been the case so far in the majors. Since being called up by the Angels last season, Marsh has seen his strikeout rate increase, while his walk rate has decreased when compared to his minor league numbers.

In 583 career plate appearances, Marsh is hitting .239/.299/.354 with a 82 OPS+, 7.2% walk rate, and 35.7% strikeout rate. While his offense has been disappointing so far, the Phillies and hitting coach Kevin Long probably see something they can fix with the young outfielder. His defense has been good while in the majors. He played all of his innings in center field last year, where he was worth -3 DRS and 2 OAA.

This season, most of his defensive innings have come in left field, but he has played some center field, and ranks in the 98th percentile in OAA this season. He has been great in left this year, with 7 DRS and 8 OAA, and solid in center with -1 DRS and 1 OAA. Overall, getting Marsh, who is a young player under contract for a while and can play solid defense in center with great speed (91st percentile in sprint speed this year), is a good acquisition for the organization not only for this season, but also moving forward.

David Robertson is a veteran reliever who makes the bullpen, which has pitched well since the beginning of June, even better. Robertson has gotten plenty of swings and misses this season as his whiff and strikeout rates currently rank in the 89th percentile.

Overall, he has pitched 40.1 innings this year, while racking up 51 strikeouts with an ERA+ of 189. He could end up pitching in the 9th inning for the Phillies to free up Seranthony Dominguez for other high leverage situations earlier in the game. Robertson could also see a similar role that Corey Knebel and Brad Hand have by being used in important situations before the 9th inning. The Phillies designated Jeurys Familia for assignment to make room for Robertson.

Edmundo Sosa is 26 and under contract through 2027. He was an interesting pickup for the Phillies considering they already have plenty of infield depth. Didi Gregorius, Bryson Stott, Yairo Munoz, and Matt Vierling are all on the big league club. While Johan Camargo, who was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Sosa, and Nick Maton, are on the 40 man roster. Also, Jean Segura is coming back from injury soon. It will be interesting to see how the Phillies handle their infield depth moving forward.

Sosa is a great defensive shortstop. In 737.2 defensive innings at short, he has 13 DRS and 7 OAA. He also has experience at second and third base. His bat has not been good this year (49 OPS+), but last season he was solid at the plate. In 2021, Sosa hit .271/.346/.389 with a 104 OPS+. A big difference between this year and last year for Sosa is his increase in O-Swing%. Last season, Sosa’s O-Swing% was 36.9%, and this year it’s 48.1%. The Phillies didn’t acquire Sosa for his bat, but there is some possible potential there. Sosa will get spot starts and be a defensive substitution late in games for the Phillies.

Subtractions:

As the trade deadline approached, multiple reports suggested the Phillies did not want to give up their top pitching prospects in Andrew Painter, Mick Abel, and Griff McGarry, but it seemed as though other prospects were available. The notable prospects the Phillies did give up were C Logan O’Hoppe, who was the Phillies’ #3 prospect according to MLB.com, and RHP Ben Brown, the organization’s #26 prospect.

O’Hoppe is 22 and has played well in Doube-A this season, hitting .269/.385/.492 with a 12.5% walk rate and 16.7% strikeout rate, while providing good defense. O’Hoppe gained a lot of attention after performing well in the Arizona Fall League this past fall. He could be a good catcher in the big leagues one day, but with J.T. Realmuto under contract through 2025, and other catchers on the 40 man roster, O’Hoppe was an expendable piece, and has reportedly become the Angels new #1 prospect.

Ben Brown has had a good year in High-A ball, and was recently promoted to Double-A, but did not pitch there. He has a fastball that sits in the mid to upper 90’s with a slider and curveball. This season, the 22 year old has thrown 73 innings, with a 3.08 ERA, 12.95 K/9, and 2.84 BB/9. With the Phillies having plenty of pitching in their system, it makes sense the team was willing to trade him.

For more in depth analysis on O’Hoppe and Brown, Matt Winkelman, who does great job providing information on the entire Phillies’ farm system, recently wrote a piece that breaks down some of the organization’s prospects at the midway point in the season.

Mickey Moniak, Jadiel Sanchez, and JoJo Romero are all players that weren’t highly regarded within the Phillies’ system. Moniak is 24 and was the number 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft. While he enjoyed some success in the minors, he has struggled in the big leagues. Moniak has not been given the kind of playing time to truly develop at the big league level. A change of scenery and consistent playing time could help Moniak’s development.

Sanchez is 21 and has played in Single-A this season. He has shown some pop with a .437 slugging percentage. Romero is a starter turned reliever who is coming off of Tommy John surgery. In 21.2 big league innings, he has a 57 ERA+, with 7.9 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9.

The Phillies did a good job at the deadline. The team is better than it was a few days ago and they filled their needs, while not giving up too much in terms of prospects. They now have a starter who will give them quality innings down the stretch, a center fielder who will provide good defense while the team attempts to improve his ability and approach at the plate, a reliever that makes the bullpen deeper, and a shortstop who is a really good defender.

Featured photo: Twitter / @PhilliesCBP

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