Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Grades - 2013 Review Pt. II

I am grading most individuals, but only four of the bullpen pieces.

  • Manuel: D+/C-
    • Tenure (2005-13): B+/A-
  • Sandberg (as 3B coach): C-/C
  • Sandberg (as manager): B+
  • Samuel (1B-3B): A
  • Dubee (P): B+/A-
    • Tenure (2005-13): A
  • Nichols (BP): D+/C-
  • Henderson (H): D+/C-
  • Joyner (Assist. H-1B): C
Starting Rotation
  • Hamels: B+/A- | Forget the W-L record!
  • Halladay: D
  • Lee: A-/A
  • Kendrick: C+/B- | Good first half, injury could have affected him 2nd half.
  • Lannan: D | Injury
  • Pettibone: C-
  • Cloyd: C
  • Martin: C
These two would make great long men. Best of luck with Cleveland, Tyler!
The rotation did alright even with the injuries (a testament to good drafts a few years ago) while the bullpen was one of the biggest failures (see below), which is why I gave a favorable grade to Dubee since he's in charge of the starters and doesn't usually deal with the bullpen (only the long-men, if any). And in 2014, this rotation will probably see the debut of Biddle and Morgan. Lots to look forward to!
  • Pap: B
  • Adams: D
  • Durbin: F
  • Bastardo: F+/D-
The bullpen, almost dead last in the majors in the usual performance stats, was a major disaster and one of the main reasons for Manuel's firing. And it did so in fewer innings despite young starters and few complete games from the rotation's healthy veterans.

Let's break it down: Bastardo was suspended and he was performing so well - I guess we know why.... Pap's velocity was down, but his numbers were ok overall - maybe his elbow needs a "clean-up?". Adams really never got going, but it was not due to the off-season surgery. And Durbin was a signing that shouldn't have even happened. No-one performed as expected, especially during the middle of the season, but there were flashes of talent and effectiveness similar to late 2012, especially at the beginning and end of the year. If only people performed like they did late last year. OVERALL: D-

Looking ahead to 2014, if this bullpen is healthy & performs like it did late 2013 throughout 2014, then we could definitely contend. However, we said this exact same thing a year ago, so...

Everyday Players
  • Chooch (C): B+ | After a regretful start to the year, Chooch really bounced back, earning a contract next year.
  • Howard (1B): D | He needs to play like a $25MM-a-year player in 125-135 games. Otherwise, we should platoon him with Ruf in the 2nd half.
  • Utley (2B): B+ | Only missed a month and it was not because of his knees, and he played to near-All-Star levels. Deserved the extension.
  • Rollins (SS): C | What happened to his power?!!!
  • M. Young (3B-1B): C+/B- | He filled his roles nicely while Asche finished developing.
  • Brown (OF): A-/A | Patience is a virtue when it comes to young players and Brown is certainly the proof. Nearly 30 HRs & 80 RBIs playing mostly everyday is great production.
  • Revere (CF): B+/A- (1st half); INC (2nd half) | Freak accidents are hard to predict in baseball and it is sad that Revere was playing so well at the time.
  • D. Young (RF): D | What were you thinking, Rube? At least it was a cheap signing.
  • OVERALL: C+/B-
There was good news and bad news and the injuries certainly didn't help. At least those who performed performed well and those that didn't perform are either no longer here or not here for long. Run support for Hamels would have been a nice touch, as well.

  • Kratz (C): D+/C-
  • Quintero (C): D+/C-
  • Rupp (C): A
Back-up catchers were not performing to their usual standards, but they got us through Chooch's suspension and injury relatively unscathed (pun not intended). At least there's depth in the minors if Valle & Joseph bounce back.
  • Asche (3B): A | Except for a slow start and slow finish offensively, Asche still set himself in good position for the 3B job. Could he be the "everyday third basemen" for the next 5-10 years? It certainly seems like it. And doesn't he look like Chase Utley out there?!
  • Frandsen (IF): B+/A- | I'd say bring him back to platoon with Asche.
  • Galvis (IF-OF): No grade
  • Hernandez (2B-CF): No grade
These two certainly will make great bench players, especially after they take-up 3B & OF in winter ball.
  • Ruf (1B-OF): B+/A- | Way to learn the corner OF spots, Darin! He doesn't strike me as a 600-PA guy (pun not intended, BTW), but 400 PAs playing three positions is certain to maximize his success next year.
  • Mayberry (1B-OF): C | He passes, but he's now redundant given his age and platoon splits.
  • OVERALL: B+/A-
Looks like the bench is set for next year with many of the same players as this year. I'm looking forward to this as long as Ryne gives these guys regular playing time... something Charlie should have done.

I have graded these guys individually already, but feel it necessary to give the rookies an overall score. So, they get an "A-". Pettibone, Martin, Deikman, De Fratus, Asche, Ruf, Galvis, and Hernandez have certainly shown that they're ready for major league action. With Asche's slumps, Pettibone's injury, Martin's late-in-games ERA, and the young arms in the bullpen not performing to late-2012 levels... I decided to keep them below A/A+ criteria. Still, a 9/10 is a great score and it is my hope that there's some RoY votes for some of these guys.


Well, a mid-year crash results in a losing record and a new manager, but things are looking up. Being healthy and performing up to expectations in 2014 should keep this team above the .500 mark.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Decisions - 2013 Review Pt. I

Well, the Phillies finish the year in 4th place (one game behind the Mets) in the NL East with a 73-89 record. Under Sandberg, they were 0-2 to start and 2-8 to finish, but ended up 20-22. We'll play the blame game and grade these guys later, but let's talk off-season moves.

The Phillies have two outgoing free agents whom they are likely to re-sign: P Roy Halladay (injured) & C Carlos Ruiz. Ah, the memories of that Perfect Game & post-season no-hitter are still fresh in my mind thanks to iTunes and this battery. Oh, how things change quickly in baseball.

Sorry, had a sentimental tangent there...

Next is the fact that Sandberg is here for three or four years but may have to start from scratch with the entire coaching staff as "free agent coaches." The list is long:
  • P Rich Dubee
  • BP Rod Nichols
  • C Mick Billmeyer
  • H Steve Henderson
  • 1B/AH Wally Joyner
  • 3B Juan Samuel
Once again, my thoughts on who to keep will come later. Let's move on.

Next up are the ten (10) - not four (4)... sorry - arbitration-eligible players:
  1. Kendrick (RHS, shoulder), Bastardo (LHR, just reinstated from suspension), and OF Revere (ankle) are probably going to be tendered.
  2. With Asche the main man at 3B, he'll need some relief (15 games next year). IF Kevin Frandsen may be tendered a contract since Galvis & Hernandez have no experience at 3B, despite their versatility. Speaking of which, they both will see time at 3B & in the OF during winter ball.
  3. The six other players who are arbitration-eligible, but most likely non-tendered candidates (think Nate Schierhotz), are: P John Lannan* (knee), C Erik Kratz*, OF-1B John Mayberry* (Jr.), IF Peter Orr, P Zach Miner, and OFs Casper Wells & Roger Bernadina
    • *Lannan's injury makes him non-tenderable despite ONE spot open in the rotation for a half-year; Kratz may be tendered, but Rupp has done well in limited action; and with Galvis, Hernandez & Ruf on the bench, Mayberry becomes redundant.
And to round off this entry, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention those who finished the year on the DL not fitting the above categories: 1B Ryan Howard and pitchers Jeremy Horst, John Pettibone, and Mike Adams.

I'll have a season recap (grades & injuries) along with me playing the GM in my next entry.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Revisiting Bold Predictions from 3/22

My bold predictions for this year have been terrible, but let' break them down one-by-one:

Phils lose Opening Day in a pitching duel between Hamels and Hudson. Score: 2-1 (a no-decision for Hamels). The Phillies did lose on Opening Day in a slug-fest with 12 combined runs scored.

Phils struggle in April, but do manage a 15-13 record in the month (not including the Indians game). Halladay struggles and defense is off to a slow start. Their April Record was 12-14. Halladay did struggle and eventually needed surgery to fix his shoulder.

Despite losing O.D. and struggling in April, the team still win 84-87 games this year; they do make the postseason, albeit as a wild-card. Well, this completely busted! 'Nuff said!

Brown wins a silver slugger award by hitting 25 HRs & 100+ RBIs. He falls just short of Gold Glove status while earning some MVP votes. One of the few bright spots in a lost season, Brown has emerged as the everyday left fielder. He has come a long way defensively and playing everyday has helped his offense. He's been dealing with an Achilles and his team is bad, limiting him to 80 RBIs and probably no MVP votes, but I'm sure he'll garner some SS & GG votes. I'd say this is a good prediction.

Hamels is - at the VERY least - in the top three in Cy Young voting with 19-21 wins, a 2.50 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, four CG, two shut-outs, which includes his first career no-hitter. Cole Hamels made numerous quality starts even when he was struggling in the first half of the season to a tune of a near-4.50 ERA, but has since put up a near-2.00 ERA. While this prediction has busted overall, let his season be more evidence that the win statistic is "outdated."

So, what's my overall score?
  1. Opening Day: 45%
  2. April: 45%
  3. Overall Record: 0%
  4. Brown: 85%
  5. Hamels: 45%
Score: 220/500 =  44%

I also made a prediction after Biddle's 16-K performance in AA that he'd be promoted come Trade Deadline. Since no one was traded and Biddle struggled mid-year after an illness, he never got that promotion. Since he did well overall (I'd give him a B-), he'll get AAA next season and will be, at the very least, a Sept. call-up next year.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

2014: A More Detailed Look at the Opening Day Roster

With the Phillies having virtually no chance at making the playoffs and also the signing of Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez now official at three (3) years, $12MM (reduced from 5-YR/ $48MM)... it is time to look at the 2014 Opening Day Roster a little more closely.


Rotation Candidates:
  • LHP Cole Hamels ($22.5MM AAV)
  • LHP Cliff Lee (if not traded, $24MM AAV)
  • RHP Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez ($4MM AAV)
  • RHP Kyle Kendrick (Last Yr. of Arbitration - est. $8MM)
  • John Lannan (Last Yr. of Arbitration - est. $6.65MM)
  • Free Agent (Halladay at $13.65MM) or for $500k...
    • Tyler Cloyd - may not be on 40-man roster come Rule 5 Day
    • John Pettibone
    • Ethan Martin
    • Adam Morgan
    • Austin Wright
    • Jesse Biddle - I project him to be called up in July.
Bullpen Locks:
  • Closer Jon Papelbon (if not traded, $12.5MM AAV)
  • RHP Mike Adams ($6-7MM)
  • LHP Antonio Bastardo (Second Yr. of Arb. - est. $2.25MM)
Bullpen Candidates:
   *Except for a Free Agent LM/SS, $500k each

  • Long Man/ Spot Starter - Cloyd, Free Agent, or...
    • Ethan Martin
    • Austin Wright
    • B.J. Rosenberg
  • Justin De Fratus
  • Michael Stutes
  • Phillipe Aumont
  • Nefi Ogando - Acquired from Red Sox in McDonald waiver deal. He'll be in A+ or AA in 2014.
  • Luis Garcia
  • Zach Miner
  • J.C. Ramirez
  • Jeremy Horst
  • Jake Diekman
  • Joe Savery
  • Cesar Jimenez
  • Rob Rasmussen - Acquired from  Dodgers in M. Young waiver deal.

  • 1B Ryan Howard ($23MM)
  • 2B Chase Utley ($15MM)
  • SS Jimmy Rollins (unless traded, $11MM)
  • 3B Cody Asche ($500k)
  • Bench:
    • Frandsen?
    • SS-2B Freddy Galvis ($500k)
    • 2B-CF Cesar Hernandez (< $500k)
  • Primary Catcher (Chooch at $4MM?)
  • Erik Kratz (First Year Arb. - est. $1-2MM)
  • In Camp:
    • Rupp
    • Valle
    • Joseph
  • LF-RF Domonic Brown ($525k)
  • CF Ben Revere (First Yr. Arb. - est. $1-2MM)
  • RF-LF-1B Darin Ruf ($515k)
  • OF-1B John Mayberry, Jr. (First Yr. Arb. - est. $1-2MM)
  • Front Office and Coaching Staff, 40-Man Roster Minor League Contracts, Insurance Premiums for long-term contracts, College Scholarships, etc.: > $12.5MM (this will be less than the beginning of this year due to Manuel's firing and another change in the coaching staff under the manager).
  • Primary Catcher
  • Starting Rotation
  • Bullpen Piece?
  • Utility IF/OF that can play CF & 3B - could be a Rule 5 pick
  • Depth signings (players signed to minor league deals with invites to Spring Camp).
Bottom Line:

They have $25MM to fill four to six roster spots despite having six players making $108MM AAV. Nice, huh?! Why the flexibility?
  1. Players earning ML Min. (~$500k each): 7-10 ($3.5-5.0MM total)
  2. Players in Arbitration: 6 ($23MM est. total)
  3. Signings (prev. contracts & free agents) of < $10MM AAV each: Up to 5 players (> $15MM)
  4. Luxury tax threshold rises to $189MM from $178MM.
Scenario: Chooch ($4MM) & Halladay ($13.7MM) re-signed, so we have ~$8MM for ~3 spots. That's still a lot of flexibility.

Next 2014-related entry:

I will probably have a post on line-up projections at some point soon. Hope you enjoy this breakdown!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Thursday Knick-Knacks

2014: Cuban P Miguel A. Gonzalez is owed $12MM AAV, so instead of $35MM left, the Phillies have only about $20MM left, but they may not re-sign Halladay ($15MM) or Chooch ($5MM), so that gives them $40MM to work with. So, the rotation is essentially full next year: Hamels, Lee, Gonzalez, Kendrick and #5, unless Lee is traded. Chase Utley's contract extension is reportedly going to be 2-YR/ $26MM with an option for 2016. For a two-year deal, the price is a hair high (I'd go with $22-24 million over two years), especially considering Utley missed time in 2011 & 2012 (knees). This gives the Phillies $27MM left to spend in Free Agency after spending $155MM on 19 players.

  • 2008 Closer Brad "Lights-Out" Lidge on his retirement as a Phillie today... the ceremony will occur at 6:30 PM on Phillies.com and possibly on CSN/ PHL17.
  • 2013 Wall of Fame Inductee Curt Schilling 
  • Kyle Kendrick and his family on the birth of their son - 4:28 PM on July 31st

Tomorrow is the start of Alumni weekend and we will celebrate the Wall of Fame induction,  and the 20th anniversary of the 1993 NL Champions this weekend. Darren "Dutch" Dalton, 1993 Phils Catcher, will attend the ceremonies. He is currently recovering from brain surgery, which removed a malignant tumor. He is currently undergoing the usual cancer treatments to prevent recurrence & spreading. To send well wishes via Twitter/ Facebook, use the hashtag: #RightOnFightOn.


  • Mike Adams (right shoulder) will have surgery and miss Opening Day 2014, but I still include him in my luxury tax calculation for 2014.
  • For tomorrow's Braves game, Cliff Lee (stiff neck) will not start: he's starting on Sunday. Ethan Martin, acquired in the July 2012 Shane Victorino trade, will make his ML debut Friday. Martin is 11-5 this year despite a 4.12 ERA and 4-2 with a near-2.00 ERA in his last 7 starts.
  • Domonic Brown (concussion) is due back in a few days. He passed his concussion test yesterday, but as a precaution, he had to take it again today. He took 60 swings in the cage and may appear in a rehab game this weekend.
  • Ryan Howard (knee) will likely not return until early September.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Trade Deadline & 2014 "Hot Stove" Preview

DEADLINE UPDATE (8:47 am Wednesday): As more rumors fly, lefty ace Cliff Lee may actually be traded today. I'd say wait until July of 2014 when the Phils' top two pitching prospects Morgan & Biddle are ready for a call-up.

Also, Chase Utley may be resigned on a two-year deal with an opt. for 2016, thus taking him off the trade block.

UPDATE (12:56 pm Tuesday): Phillies call-up 3B Cody Asche from AAA after hitting .295 this year and .287 in the minors (equivalent of two full seasons). As speculated by many beat writers, this likely means that Michael Young will be traded shortly. If that happens by 4 PM on the 31st, Asche is expected to platoon with Kevin Frandsen for the rest of 2013.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Well, with the team out of contention in 2013 after loosing eight straight games (their worst loosing streak since Sept. 2011 & worst road trip since 1995), it is time to look ahead to 2014.

The theme for next season: a lot of needs but tremendous payroll flexibility.

The Phillies have six players under contract ($99MM total), four Arbitration-Eligible players ($14MM expected salary), and will have at least seven (maybe 12) players making the ML Minimum ($3.6MM - three in the bullpen, Brown, Kratz, a 5th starter, & Asche at 3B (he'll make ~$490k)). Coaches & front office staff account for about $10-13MM toward the luxury tax calculation. So far, that's ~$130MM for 17 players.

  • Papelbon: $12.5MM
  • Adams: $6MM
  • Hamels: $22.5MM
  • Lee: $24MM
  • Howard: $23MM
  • Rollins: $11MM
Arbitration-Eligible Players (2013 Salary):
  • Kendrick: $4.5MM
  • Bastardo:  $1.4MM
  • Revere & Mayberry: $516k each
With the luxury tax threshold rising to $189MM... and $30MM spent on re-signing Chooch, Halladay & Utley on 1-or-2-year deals... the team has ~$35MM remaining to spend in free agency for five players: a starting pitcher (if Lee is traded), some bench players (an OF and a 3B to platoon w/ Asche are our biggest yet cheapest needs), and a lefty in the bullpen.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

First-Half Grades

Starting Rotation: B
  • Lee: A+
  • KK: B+/A-
  • Pettibone: B
  • Hamels: C
  • Cloyd: D+
  • Lannan & Halladay: Incomplete
Bullpen: D+/F-
  • Ramirez: A-/B+
  • Savery: A
  • Papelbon: B+
  • Diekman: B-
  • Bastardo: C+
  • Aumont: C-/D+
  • De Fratus: D
  • Valdes: D
  • Horst: D+
  • Rosenberg: F
  • Adams: Incomplete
  • Howard: F+
  • Utley: B-
  • Rollins: C
  • M. Young: C
  • Brown: A+
  • Revere: A-
  • D. Young: D-
  • All Catchers: Incomplete
  • Bench: A-
  • Defense: C-
KK: A-; Lee: A+; Pettibone: B; Hamels: C-; Lannan & Halladay: Inc.; Cloyd: D - See more at: http://philliesnation.com/archives/2013/07/phillies-nation-tv-grading-the-phillies-1st-half/#comments
KK: A-; Lee: A+; Pettibone: B; Hamels: C-; Lannan & Halladay: Inc.; Cloyd: D - See more at: http://philliesnation.com/archives/2013/07/phillies-nation-tv-grading-the-phillies-1st-half/#comments

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Urgent News

I would like to extend my congratulations to Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown for his first-career "NL Player of the Week" honors. In the past week (six games since 5/21), Brown has 7 H in 22 AB (.318) with 8 RBIs, 4 R, 2 2Bs, a 3B, and 2 HRs for a .773 SLG. He has no walks or hit-by-pitches, but he has avoided the strike-out: 4 K's for a .389 BABIP (batting avg. on balls in play). His hot streak extends to May 20th (seven games), where he went 2-4: 1B, HR, RBI, R, SB in that game.

Since May 20, Brown is 9-26 (.346), 4 Ks (.409 BABIP, 15.4% K-rate), 3 1Bs, SB, 2 2Bs, 1 3B, 3 HRs, .846 SLG, 5 R, 9 RBIs, 1.192 OPS

Injury Updates: CF Ben Revere has no broken bones after his collision with the gate in yesterday's ball game. He may be sore for a few days, but he should be ok. Ryan Howard is taking his knee issues (swelling, soreness, cartilage issue and possible meniscus tear) day-to-day, but a DL stint is still possible... albeit not likely.

Tonight (7:05 PM EDT): Cliff Lee tries to replicate the 3 hit shutout he threw his last time out.

On a sadder note, I would like to extend my thoughts, prayers, and condolences to the family of orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum who passed away today. He most recently performed surgery on Halladay's right shoulder and was the Angels' team doctor.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Injury Updates & Today's Game

Sorry I haven't posted much, but here's a few updates:
  • In the span of 24 hours at one point this week, the Phillies had a slew of injury updates: Chooch (Grade 2 Hamstring strain); Utley (Mild Grade 1 oblique strain); Howard (left knee swelling; meniscus issue, which may require off-season surgery); and Adams (sent to DL on 5/20... retroactive to 5/11, activated today).
  • Obviously, we have an explanation for Halladay: arthroscopic surgery to clean up a bone spur, bone chip, frayed labrum & partial rotator cuff tear will sideline him until mid-to-late August (he'll be throwing in about 5-7 weeks from today). He was sent to the 60-day DL.
  • Back to Chooch, it is obvious his .325 season last year was an Adderall fluke, but his defense has never been flukish as evidenced by 2010.
Game Preview: Phillies (24-25) at Nationals (25-24) - 1:35 PM EDT

Phillies ace Cole Hamels has essentially converted 1.0 K/9 to 1.0 BB/9 and has a partially skewed 1-7 record & 4.45 ERA. He is looking for more than the 2.8 runs of support the Phillies give him on average and was so frustrated, he didnt want to say something out of anger that he might regret, so he left the clubhouse after his last start. Perhaps the stress of having to be perfect each time out is a factor in the inflated ERA & BB rate and the deflated K rate. Let's hope Hamels gets three or more runs of support from the offense that is without Utley and Howard (DL and rest respectively) but has done better as of late.

Hamels will face Stephen Strasburg who is 2-5 with a respectable 2.66 ERA. The Nats also don't score a lot of runs, but Strasburg certainly helps himself out with the sub-3.00 ERA. Strasburg will face off against Charlie Manuel's line-up, who is batting .200 in their career against the Nats:

SS Rollins, 2B Galvis, 3B M. Young, RF D. Young, LF Brown, 1B Frandsen, CF Revere, C Quintero, P Hamels

Current score: 0-0 in the bottom of the first.

Friday, April 26, 2013

What is wrong with the Phillies?

The Phillies are 9-14 (.391), 4th in the East (7.0 games behind ATL) & 9th in the Wild Card race

The Good News:
  • 139 games to go and the Phillies are a second-half team
  • Roy Halladay
    • First two starts: 7.1 IP, 15.21 ERA & K/9, 1.83 aWHIP*, 7.46 P/PA**
    • Last three starts:  21.0 IP, 1.71 ERA, 0.62 aWHIP, 6.86 K/9, 3.83 P/PA
*aWHIP = (H - HR + BB + HBP) / IP
**P/PA = # pitches thrown / number of batters faced
  • Carlos Ruiz returns on Sunday.
  • Cole Hamels: 11.47-ERA in 10.2 IP in 1st two starts; 2.57 ERA in 21 IP in last three
  • Team ERA minus Team RPG = 1, so lots of the games are close... on average
  • Bastardo & Papelbon: 16.1 IP, 1.68 ERA, 0.56 aWHIP, 0.81 K/IP
  • The Phillies are the best in the MLB in pinch-hits.
  • M. Young just ended a 12-game hitting streak and is not a defensive liability at 3B (yet).
  • Utley is healthy and hitting well.
  • Kendrick has put together a lot of quality starts.
The Bad News:
  • The Phillies must not dig themselves into too deep a hole: four below .500 come All-Star Break is the limit; they're five below .500 right now
  • Cliff Lee is starting to struggle, blowing a lead yesterday and allowed 5 R on 7 H & 3 BB against the Cards
  • The bullpen, except Bastardo & Papelbon, is under-performing
    • Durbin has allowed 80% of his inherited runners to score
    • It has a 7.32-8th-inning-ERA with five of the players having allowed at least two runs
  • The team cannot walk, but can get on-base through hits
    • Is Charlie Manuel's philosophy detrimental to the team here? As a whole? Will Sandberg fix it? Where have Joyner & Henderson been? What t** h*** have they been doing?
  • Hitting with RISP is a big problem
  • Utley's fielding has been abnormally abysmal.
  • Howard has only two HRs this year, but he's never had a hot April, at least in the last few years.
  • Catchers are struggling to hit, but are ok with the glove
  • Brown hasn't brought much of his spring success into the reg. season
The Minor Leagues:
  • Shout-out to AA Prospect (and 2010 1st round pick) Jesse Biddle for his 16-K, 7-inning performance in which he retired the 1st 19 batters faced & hit two doubles and scored a run
    • He struck out 14 on 73 pitches in the first six innings!!!
    • His performance with the bat looked like the 2011 version of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee
    • Bold Prediction: he'll get a mid-season promotion to AAA come July 1. He already skipped Low-A ball in Lakewood, going right to High-A ball in Clearwater last year.
  • Pettibone earned another start for the Phillies after a nice debut.
  • Hot in AAA: 
    • 3B Cody Asche: near-.300 AVG
    • RHR De Fratus & LHR Savery: 19.2 IP, 0.94 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 1.09 K/ IP between them
    • SP Adam Morgan: 24.2 IP, 2.55 ERA, 1.04 aWHIP, 5.98 K/9
The Answer:

Could Sandberg be the answer? Right now, the answer is no. There are plenty of games to go for this typically second-half team. Obviously, the Phillies don't play ALL nine innings. I think the team's biggest problem is hitting: team OBP & team AVG with RISP. Don't be too aggressive... wait for your pitch & know your opposing pitchers' tendencies well (a.k.a. scouting)! A next biggest problem is the relief core, which is not much smaller than the hitting problems, especially because the 'pen has improved slightly because the starters' longevity increased.

However, this can be solved with a roster make-over:
  1. D. Young (ankle) and Chooch (suspension) are close to returning
    • Carrera will almost certainly be placed on waivers when D. Young returns
    • Quintero is doing better than Kratz, but given Kratz's $400k contract and age & experience, he will likely stay on the active roster when Chooch returns
  2. Some of the relievers must soon be send down: De Fratus & Savery are doing well in AAA while Aumont & Durbin struggle here in Philadephia
I don't think trading for prospects (or giving Roy Oswalt a job) is the way to go here -YET. But come mid-July, we must do something if the team is still struggling.

The Line-Up:
  1. Please continue to split up lefties Utley and Howard, especially against a left-handed starter.
  2. Put more righties into the line-up if possible (Mayberry is doing pretty well right now, getting Chooch back will help)
  3. Have Revere hit 8th with Chooch 5th and Kratz/ Quintero 7th
  4. Find another lead-off candidate besides Rollins and Revere... put J-Roll 3rd or 6th in the line-up sometimes. Could Laynce Nix be that candidate?

Friday, March 22, 2013

March 22nd Update

***THIS JUST IN (5:20 PM): Ruf sent down to AAA Lehigh Valley.***

Except for Roy Halladay and Chase Utley, things - for the most part - are looking good in camp. The biggest concern is Halladay who had struggled against the Tigers and was then pulled from his latest start after one inning due to illness. He's due to pitch in a minor league game tomorrow. As for Utley, his spring average has been low - a .227 average - but as long as he's healthy come Opening Day, I'm not concerned.

For the outfield, Revere and now Brown (YAY!!!) look to be locks with Nix and Mayberry filling out two of the last three spots. It is a competition between Rule 5 pick Ender Inciarte and today's walk-off hero, Darin Ruf. Even though Ruf has hit the ball well as of late, I still send him down with Inciarte the fifth outfielder, mostly because Ruf has options & doesn't play left field well. When D. Young returns from the DL in late-April, the Phils may have to offer Inciarte back to the D'Backs.

As for the relief core, Pap, Adams, Durbin, and Bastardo are, of course, locks to make the roster. Given (1) the Phils love Aumont and Horst and with Diekman & De Fratus sent down, it's between Stutes and Valdes, with the edge to Stutes despite Valdes' age. Given Charlie doesn't like situational pitching (a la J.C. Romero), Stutes wins the competition.

 - Speaking of  J.C. Romero, he just signed a minor league deal with the Nats with an invitation to camp. He'll likely start the year in AAA Syracuse as a "depth signing."

And a decision is impending on the infield, with the Phils seemingly leaning toward releasing Bentacourt. He's making it a tough decision for the Phils, who like Galvis' defense enough to keep him on the big-league roster. Frandsen is a lock to make the roster. The decision is due on Sunday around five o'clock (i.e. close of business).

No word yet on the catchers, but the April back-up job to Eric Kratz seems to be Quintero's job to lose.

Five Bold Predictions:
  • Phils lose Opening Day in a pitching duel between Hamels and Hudson. Score: 2-1 (a no-decision for Hamels)
  • Phils struggle in April, but do manage a 15-13 record in the month (not including the Indians game). Halladay struggles and defense is off to a slow start.
  • Despite losing O.D. and struggling in April, the team still win 84-87 games this year; they do make the postseason, albeit as a wild-card.
  • Brown wins a silver slugger award by hitting 25 HRs & 100+ RBIs. He falls just short of Gold Glove status while earning some MVP votes.
  • Hamels is - at the VERY least - in the top three in Cy Young voting with 19-21 wins, a 2.50 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, four CG, two shut-outs, which includes his first career no-hitter.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

3/13 Spring Update: Halladay, Cuts, & Competition

Roy Halladay's line from his start against Detroit: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 4 BB, 2 HR, 1 HBP, fastball at 86-88 mph. Let's hope it's mid-Spring dead arm and not something worse.

Sent down (40-man roster): righty starter Tyler Cloyd, righty LM-SS B.J. Rosenberg, lefty Mauricio Robles, OF Tyson Gillies, and C Sebastian Valle

Released: righties Ryan Duke & Juan Morillo

Sent Down: Non-Roster Invitee C Cameron Rupp


  • Utility IF: Bentancourt (.360 AVG, ~.380 OBP, & .400 SLG) VS. Galvis and Frandsen, who have the edge in camp
  • Relievers - six in camp for three spots - lefties Horst, Diekman, & Valdes and righties Aumont, De Fratus, & Stutes
  • Outfielders: No new updates.
  • April Catcher: No new updates.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

March 9: Minor-League Camp, Notable Game Moments

Who was cut today?  Lefty Adam Morgan; righties J.C. Ramirez and Kyle Simon; infielder Michael Martinez; catcher Tommy Joseph; and 3B Cody Asche to Minor League camp. Optioned: lefty Joe Savery Released: OF Joe Mather

Also, the Phils informed right-handers Jonathan Pettibone & Ethan Martin and OF Zach Collier that they will be optioned Monday.

Most of these guys will not see time with the Phils until at LEAST late-August, except for Mini-Mart if injuries prevail.

A good chunk of the bullpen competition are still in camp... only Savery was cut. Three weeks left until the season, so plenty of time to decide the three bullpen spots along with the April catcher, second utility IF position, and four outfielders.

Speaking of outfielders, 1B-LF Darin "Babe" Ruf recently drove in three runs and scored another in the DH position - a good example of the usefulness the DH position can hold. Even with D. Young on the DL for the first two to four weeks of the season, Ruf's options, slow start to spring, his inexperience in LF, and the four others in camp will make him the first candidate to be sent to minor-league camp sometime late next week.

Howard continued his tear with his fourth HR this Spring in a 15-7 loss to the Rays. It is said that if your Spring SLG pctg. is 200 pts. higher than the career avg, then there's a 60% chance of SLG above career numbers in the reg. season. Let's hope that holds true.

Don't just focus on the results. Even though we're half-way through Spring Training, starting pitchers are still not up to throwing beyond four innings and are working on perfecting certain pitches. Hitters are also working on improving certain aspects of their swing. And this year, many players are participating in the WBC.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

March 6th Update

Things are looking up as Spring Training progresses. Halladay, Howard and Utley look good. Brown's tearing the cover off the ball. Ruf looks to start the year in AAA (.130 BA, terrible performance in the OF) and D. Young will be on the DL. It's really tough to judge the bullpen & infield competition. There's lots of competition in the relievers for only three spots, and F. Galvis, Y. Bentancourt and 2B C. Hernandez are competing for the 2nd bench spot with only 2.5 weeks to determine if Bentancourt will make the Opening Day roster or be given his release. Right now, it's looking like five OD Roster spots are up for grabs: three relievers, one utility infielder, and the 25-day catcher. I leave the outfield competition as decided: see above... the question is who goes down to the minors when D. Young returns? They have until April 15th to make that decision.

Decision points:
  • March 24th: Infield competition
  • March 27th: On-Deck Series roster decision - most of the minor leaguers will be in MiLB camp.
  • April 1: OPENING DAY!!!
  • April 15th: OF probation decision (earliest estimate to activating D. Young from 15-day DL)
    • D. Young will be allowed to return around 4/11, but he won't be ready for another 100 hrs.
  • April 28th: Chooch returns from suspension

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The 40-Man Roster: A Reformatted Break-Down

MLB Rotation
Cole Hamels (L) - opening day nod?
Roy Halladay (R)
Cliff Lee (L)
Kyle Kendrick (R)
John Lannan (L)

Lehigh Valley Rotation
Tyler Cloyd (R) – emergency starter
Jonathan Pettibone (L) - emergency lefty in Aug. & Sept.

Relievers Competition: three spots open, most likely two lefties & one righty

Righty Relievers
Jonathan Papelbon - closer
Mike Adams - set-up man
Chad Durbin - middle/ late relief

Righty Competition
Phillippe Aumont
Justin De Fratus
Michael Stutes
B.J. Rosenberg

Lefty Reliever
Antonio Bastardo - 7th or 8th inning

Lefty Competition
Jeremy Horst
Raul Valdes
Jake Diekman
Joe Savery
Mauricio Robles

Lehigh Valley Relief
Ethan Martin

**Carlos Ruiz – SUSP’D for April
Erik Kratz – Opening Day nod, Primary Back-up May-> Playoffs
*Humberto Quintero – April/ Sept.
*Steven Lerud –April/ Sept.

Lehigh Valley Catchers
Sebastian Valle
*Tommy Joseph – NOT on 40-man

Infield Core
1B Ryan Howard
2B Chase Utley
SS Jimmy Rollins
SS Michael Young

3B Kevin Frandsen (2B?)
2B-SS Freddy Galvis (3B?)

Lehigh Valley IF
2B Cesar Hernandez

CF Ben Revere
RF Delmon Young – DL

Outfield Competition (four spots initially):
Ender Inciarte – Rule 5 Selection
John Mayberry (can play 1B)
Laynce Nix (can also play 1B)
Domonic Brown
1B-LF Darin Ruf
Lehigh Valley OF
Zach Collier
Tyson Gillies

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Trade Alert & the Game

Phillies trade righty Michael Schwimer to the Blue Jays for 1B Art Charles. Schwimer, who was scheduled to pitch today, had a little problem with management toward the end of last season when he was sent down to AAA instead of DL'ed. He had a 4.62 ERA in 47 appearances at the ML-level. Charles - a 22-year old, 20th round draftee in 2010 out of Bakersfield College - has a .240/.360/.480 line (rounded) in three years of minor league service time. With Howard, Ruf & Mayberry able to play 1B, this move really serves to increase the odds that Aumont & De Fratus will be on the opening day roster while freeing up a 40-man roster spot for one of the catchers.

In game-action today, Phillies lost to the Astros 8-3. It was the Astros' first game as a member of the AL. Hamels threw ten pitches in two scoreless frames, giving up a hit. Chase Utley, in his first spring game since 2010 (knees), drove in Ben Revere in the 1st inning. The rest of the Phils' hitters looked good at the plate. Defense - 4 errors (Martinez, Revere, Ruf, & M. Young) - and the bullpen - 8 runs allowed by Rosenberg (3 R, 2 ER, BS, Loss), Miner (2 R, 1 ER), Horst (1 ER), and De Fratus (2 ER) - led to the loss. The Phils had eight (8) hits: Two by Betancourt and one each by Revere, Utley, Orr (HR), Jermaine Mitchell (3B), Brown, and Nix.

Phillies play the Tigers away tomorrow. Halladay vs. Verlander at 1:05 PM in Lakeland.

Sources: PhilliesNation.com and the Phillies.com box score.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Spring Update - 2/20

All Phillies are currently healthy, a statement which looks to stick. The veterans will ease into their positions while rookies/ young guys get a chance to compete for spots in the OF, bullpen & April back-up catching position.


The biggest news is that Roy Halladay will not be the opening day starter for the first time as a Phillie. He, Lee, and Hamels will pitch in the opening series. Dubee wants to split the lefties just like he did the last few seasons. The spring rotation is lined up exactly as I wanted it. Whether that translates to the regular season remains to be seen.


Chase Utley will play in his first Grapefruit League game since 2010 on Saturday. With him getting rest and Orr playing for Team Canada in the Classic, 2B Cesar Hernandez will probably get a good chunk of playing time early in camp as a member of the 40-man roster.


Mike Adams will not pitch in games until March, which is not unusual for him. Plus, he had off-season surgery, so they'll be cautious at first. He's on a normal throwing program though, so no DL time anticipated. With him, Papelbon, Durbin, and Bastardo locked in, there are eleven (11) relievers (six righties and five lefties) competing for three spots - two of the spots are most likely reserved for lefties.


Ben Revere is the only lock. With Delmon Young possibly opening the year on the DL, there are five players competing for four spots.


Further break-downs of the competition can be found in previous entries.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Update to the Roster

Spring Training is here at last!!! Yay!!! Now it is time to break down the roster a bit further than I already have with updates. So, I'll do so by position.

  • Projected: Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick, and John Lannan
  • 40-Man:
    • Tyler Cloyd: possibly in the 'pen, emergency starter from April through July.
    • Jon Pettibone: No. 1 in the Iornpigs' rotation, emergency starter in August & September. He is known as one of the "Baby Aces".
    • Ethan Martin: The righty came over in the Shane Victorino deal, finishing with a 3.18 ERA in 7 starts (almost 40 IP), en-route to a sub-3.50 ERA at AA. He'll be in AAA this year.

  • Locks: Jon Papelbon (closer), Mike Adams (8th inning), and Chad Durbin
  • 40-Man:
    • Competition: Tyler Cloyd, Phillippe Aumont, Justin De Fratus, Mike Stutes, Mike Schwimmer, and B.J. Rosenberg (one or two spots open)

  • Lock: Antonio Bastardo (7th inning, lefty specialist in the 8th)
  • 40-Man:
    • Competition: Jeremy Horst, Jake Deikman, Raul Valdes, Joe Savery, and Robles (two spots open probably)

Pitching Invitees: Kyle Simon, Justin Friend, Aaron Cook, Rodrigo Lopez; Adam Morgan, & Cesar Jimenez

  • Restricted List: Carlos Ruiz (Suspended from Opening Day to April 28th - Adderall)
  • Lock: Eric Kratz
  • 40-Man: Sebastian Valle (likely in AAA)
  • Invitees:
    • Competition for April Back-up:
      • Humberto Quintero (probable)
      • Steven Lerud (in the minors)
    • In AAA, developing: Tommy Joseph (he is an invitee)

First Base:
  • Core: Ryan Howard (145-155 games)
  • Back-ups: Mike Young, Darin Ruf, John Mayberry, and Laynce Nix

Second Base:
  • Core: Chase Utley (140-150 games)
  • Back-up: Freddy Galvis
  • 40-Man: Cesar Hernandez
  • Invitees: Mike Martinez, Pete Orr, Yuniesky Betancourt

  • Core: Jimmy Rollins
  • Back-up: Freddy Galvis
  • Invitees: Mike Martinez, Yuniesky Betancourt

Third Base:
  • Core: Mike Young
  • Back-up: Kevin Frandsen
  • Invitees: Yuniesky Betancourt, Mini-Mart, Orr
  • Developing: Cody Asche could be a September call-up. He's invited to camp.
Andres Blanco & Josh Fields are infield invitees to Spring Camp.
  • Lock: CF Ben Revere
  • Competition:
    • Domonic Brown - Rube gave up Travis D'Arnaud instead of Brown in the 2009 deal for Roy Halladay. After the trials of the past few years, it is time to see what can Brown do for us (pun intended). I'm not giving up on him, but the experts seem to be. Don't give up yet!
    • John Mayberry, Jr. - He's just a platoon player but still has a little time to prove us wrong. Let's hope he can play like he did in 2011. Otherwise, don't tender him a contract in 2014.
    • Delmon Young - He will likely be placed on the DL (ankle) to start the year, then play RF.
    • Darin Ruf - Oh how suddenly he emerged last year. He still has options, so he may be the first to go, but he can play 1B & LF and is about 27 years old, so that's in his favor.
    • Ender Inciarte - Gosh, don't we all just love that name! As the Rule 5 pick, he'll get a good look, but with the plethora of outfielders, he may be offered back to Arizona.
    • Laynce Nix - well, we saw two versions of him last year with the injury in between. Which will we see? Well, if he can't hit effectively (like his post-injury self), then he'll probably be placed on the waiver wire.
  • 40-Man: 
    • Tyson Gillies - now this guy, I have given up on. Maybe he can stay on the field and convince the front office (and fans) that the 2009 Cliff Lee deal netted more than Phillippe Aumont.
    • Zach Collier - the Phils' first pick in the 2008 Draft has completed his 2nd full-year in the minors. He played for Clearwater, hitting .269/.333/.399 with 26 XBH and 32 RBIs. He has played all three OF positions.
  • Invitees: Joe Mather & Jermaine Mitchell

Monday, January 28, 2013

More Moves

Philles bring back righty Chad Durbin on a one-year $1.1 million deal with a club option for 2014 and up to $350k in incentives. Durbin was on the team from 2008-2010 and has since played for the Braves.

They also signed utility infielder Yuniesky Betancourt to a minor league deal with an invitation to camp. Still, Galvis & Frandsen will make the active roster IMO.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Meet The Non-Roster Invitees

Before we begin, the Phillies made a roster move:

They signed right-handed hitting outfielder and 2012 ALCS MVP Delmon Young to a one-year, $750k deal with incentives that could push the deal to $2MM. He'll play right field and come off the bench. This move gives the Phillies seven outfielders competing for five jobs in Spring Training. The others are CF Ben Revere, Domonic Brown, LF-1B Darin Ruf, OF-1B John Mayberry, OF-1B Laynce Nix, and Rule-5 pick Ender Inciarte (from the D'backs' system). Ruf & Inciarte look to be the odd men out.


Here are the 17 players invited to spring training as non-roster invitees:

  • Kyle Simon
  • Justin Friend
  • Aaron Cook
  • Juan Cruz
  • Rodrigo Lopez
  • Adam Morgan
  • Cesar Jimenez
  • Tommy Joseph
  • Humberto Quintero
  • Steven Lerud
  • Joe Mather
  • Jermaine Mitchell
  • Cody Asche
  • Pete Orr
  • Michael Martinez
  • Andres Blanco
  • Josh Fields

Source: Jay Floyd of PhilliesNation.com & PhoulBallz.com

This info supplements the "Spring Training Preview..." article published on Jan. 5th. Combined with the roster info on Phillies.com you now know the Phils' spring training roster "like the back of your hand."

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Spring Training Preview & The Seventh OF

Happy New Year from JBreezy Phillies. Let's hope this is a better year for you, your family and the Philadelphia sports world.

Well, the Phillies' 2013 Roster is pretty much set, which has been the case ever since the signings of Adams & Lannan and the non-acquisitions of Swisher & Ross. Here's who they have (I didn't include ALL the invitees):


The rotation consists of Hamels (L), Halladay (R), Lee (L), Kendrick (R), and Lannan (L). This is the order I'd put them in if I were Charlie. We're hoping for bonce-back seasons from Lee and especially Halladay. Kendrick is in the rotation unless (1) he's too inconsistent & (2) Tyler Cloyd dazzles.

The bullpen has four occupants: right-handers Papelbon (closer), Adams (set-up man), & Cloyd (long-man/ spot-starter), and left-hander Antonio Bastardo. There are three spots left: at least one righty & one lefty. On the depth chart, the righties are Aumont, De Fratus, Stutes, & Schwimmer (in order of most likely to make it); the lefties are Horst, Valdes, Deikman, & Savery (again, in order of decreasing probabilities of making the cut). I leave out middle-relievers B.J. Rosenberg (R) & Robles (L). They'll most likely be in the minors.

Erik Kratz will handle most of the catching duties and Quintero & Lerud will compete for the April back-up as Ruiz serves his 25-game suspension for Adderal use. Ruiz will be allowed to play in Spring Training, practice with the team before each game, and spend the last 4-5 days of his suspension "rehabbing." In the minors are Sebastian Valle & Tommy Joseph: Valle is on the 40-man roster.


The core will be Ryan Howard at first, Chase Utley at second, Jimmy Rollins at shortstop, and Mike Young at third. Kevin Frandsen & Freddy Galvis will be on the bench, with Mike "Mini-Mart" Martinez invited to spring training. We are hoping for a full season from Howard & Utley and bounce-back seasons from all of them. Howard should be ok; Rollins doesn't need one DEFENSIVELY; Utley is keeping up with baseball activities over the winter; and Young, while not a great defender, SHOULD provide value offensively.


The only sure "roster lock" is CF Ben Revere, acquired from the Twins for Worley & May at the tail end of the Winter Meetings. Domonic Brown has nothing left to prove in the minors and will almost certainly (99.5%) get his shot at the everyday right-fielder job (power & routes to balls needed). Darin "Babe" Ruf looks to play left field & provide depth at first base (an 87.5% chance of making it). If the Phils do not acquire a veteran corner OF, Mayberry ($500k), Nix ($1.35M), and Rule-Five pick Inciarte will compete for the other two spots: Inciarte is most likely to go (offered back to the D'backs); Mayberry has some (but not a lot of) trade value; and Nix can be released or put on waivers with the Phils swallowing his salary.

For me, Brown must have the opportunity to get 300 PAs from Opening Day through the All-Star Break (96 games) and be on-pace for over 15 HRs. Otherwise, we should just trade him. With that said, I'd like to sign or trade for the veteran corner OF: according to MLB.com/ Phillies' Beat Reporter Todd Zolecki, FA Scott Hairston & Angels OF Vernon Wells are two names being tossed around.