What in the world is happening? In one of the strangest turns of the summer, the Philadelphia Phillies have been one of the hottest teams in baseball over the last three weeks.
Of the 16 games played since the All-Star break, the Phillies have managed to win 13. Not only are they winning, but front office management is making good decisions as well. In the past week, the Phillies have had great fortunes come their way.
The front office was able to pull in a number of quality prospects from the Texas Rangers in exchange for longtime Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels, who made himself irresistible by throwing a no-hitter in his final act in a Phillies uniform.
On top of that performance by the Phillies great and the wonderful haul of young talent, the Phillies were able to unload disgruntled closer Jonathan Papelbon.
Hamels’ no-hitter on July 25 could not have been a better way for him to leave the city of Philadelphia. His commitment to winning and excellence was on display as it has been since he entered the league in 2006.
Looking back over Hamels’ career brings back moments of better times. No fans will ever forget his performance in the 2008 playoffs, when he dominated the postseason and started Game 5 of the World Series before winning the series’ Most Valuable Player trophy.
Hamels ends his Philadelphia career with a 114-90 record, a 3.75 ERA, 1,850 strike outs and one very memorable World Series ring.
In the trade, the Texas Rangers traded three of their top prospects to acquire Hamels. The Phillies also included pitcher Jake Diekman and cash, while Texas sent right-handed pitcher Jake Thompson, outfielder Nick Williams and catcher Jorge Alfaro.
The haul adds to the Phillies’ haul of youth, giving the organization incredible depth in their minor league system, which is a sound building block for future success.
It is important to remember the prospects that have produced in the Phillies’ system thus far.
J.P. Crawford is currently rated sixth among his minor league contemporaries. The young shortstop is talented and will certainly be a star when he is promoted to the big leagues.
Cornelius Randolph, the Phillies’ first-round draft pick in 2015, is ranked No. 99 among the league’s prospects, and is only going to get better as he works his way up the farm system.
Pitcher Aaron Nola, who was brought up to the major leagues in July, is currently looking like he can take over Hamels’ spot as the Phillies ace. The rookie has complied a 2-1 record with a 3.38 ERA in three starts. He has shown great command, tossing just three walks in three games.
Third baseman Mikel Franco has also been great for the Phillies this season and continues to stand out. He currently is sporting a .282 batting average with 12 home runs and 45 runs batted in. His grand slam August 4 was the first by a Phillies rookie in a decade.
For all the heat general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has taken from the fanbase in the past few years, his work during the trade deadline was fantastic and deserves recognition. He waited patiently, and found a way to turn an asset into value for the future.
Cole Hamels will certainly be missed in Philadelphia. He contributed plenty, and he will certainly go down as one of the best pitchers in Phillies history. The Phillies are on their way to a much brighter future, and Phillies fans should be excited.