Klentak, Mackanin, and Phillies grade poorly in mid-year report

Philadelphia Phillies report card; baseball's first half complete
The warm Clearwater sun beaming down on an early-March morning, Matt Klentak stood behind the batting cage at Spectrum Field as Maikel Franco launched a half-dozen balls into the berm in center field.

It was a simpler time for Klentak and the Philadelphia Phillies. Expectations were tempered but bettering last year's win total of 71 was the primary goal.

Five months later and half a season in, the Phillies are anchored in the NL East basement 29 games below .500 and on pace to lose more than 100 games for the first time since 1961.

The young nucleus - once the cause for excitement - has regressed considerably and the veteran free agent acquisitions, for the most part, have proven to be busts.

“We've been frustrated generally with the team's play and we've had our fair share of mistakes, whether on the mound or on the bases, you've seen it,” Klentak said just before the All-Star break. “We have not been a particularly good baseball team for the first half of the season."

For some guys, like Franco and Odubel Herrera, the second half of the season will play a pivotal role in determining their future standing within the organization.

Can Franco be an offensive contributor and the threat the Phillies desperately need in their lineup? Can Herrera get his head out of the clouds and eliminate the mental miscues?

Mid-Season Report Card

It's difficult to give Klentak a grade of anything but a D. Most of the off-season free agent signings were duds but he did cut-bait with Michael Saunders and admitted it was a mistake. It'll be interesting to see what he accomplishes as the trade deadline inches closer.

Pete Mackanin hasn't had an easy go of things, but he's made his share of managerial blunders. His handling of the bullpen has been questionable, but he can only work with the talent he's given. C-

The maturation of Aaron Nola (B), especially over the last month, as a young arm at the front of the rotation, is the Phillies best storyline from the first half. From the offensive side, Freddy Galvis (B) has improved his average while putting together a Gold-Glove effort at short. He's also emerged as a leader on the field and in the clubhouse.

Cameron Rupp: (C-) how many times was he called out by the coaching staff for his pitch calling?

Andrew Knapp: (C) demonstrates baseball smarts but not an everyday catcher.

Tommy Joseph: (C+) will never win a Gold Glove, but without him, the lineup has no pop.

Cesar Hernadez (C) serviceable, but injured.

Maikel Franco (F) almost feels like we're reliving the Domonic Brown era.

Aaron Altherr (C+) put together a nice stretch but fallen off quite a bit as of late.

Odubel Herrera (F) an All-Star last year, he says the new contract hasn't gone to his head - actions say otherwise.

Nick Williams (Inc.) looks the part, but not enough data to evaluate.

Cameron Perkins (D-) over-matched at the big league level.

Ty Kelly (C-) vanilla.

Daniel Nava (C) a bench bat for a competitor, should be moved.

Brock Stassi (D-) nice story, better guy, not a future here.

Howie Kendrick (C) injury plagued, but adequate when in the lineup.

Vince Velasquez (D) high expectations, low output and injured.

Jerad Eickhoff (C-) high WHIP, but a better hurler than numbers indicate.

Nick Pivetta (C-) hot and cold.

Jeremy Hellickson (C) hot and cold, but getting hot at the right time.

Ben Lively (C) nice start to his career, but can he keep it up?

Pat Neshek (A) a career-year and an interesting character, it'll be sad to see him leave.

Rest of bullpen (D-) talk about unreliable, this group takes things to an entirely different level.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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