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