Phillies in need of Heart Transplant

Is Charlie Manuel on the hot seat? The
Phillies are on the verge of having dropped 10 of 18 since my
last entry. Between the lack of effort (and lack of
commitment from MLB) I chose not to post. Tonight I could not
hold my tongue any longer. Either this team is tired of
playing for Charlie or a serious kick in the *** is in order.
Errors, poor hitting, poor baserunning, just poor attitudes
in general have been killing this team, giving up a 6.5 game
lead in the division to the Braves in a little over 2 weeks.
That is almost as good as the Mets of 2007 and 2008. Don’t
give me the injury excuses. If the healthy starters played
their games the right way, we would have not lost 8 of 11.
STOP RELYING ON THE LONG BALL. Teams are not pitching to you.
This team in general is not getting fastballs. Teams are
sending their junkballers against the Phils. Time to start
playing like champions boys.

How Many Fingers Do You See?

This past week the Phillies were accused of stealing signs against the Rockies. Specifically, Mick Billmeyer for using binoculars from the bullpen. Now at the time of accusation the game was tied at one. So if the Phillies were stealing signs, they weren’t doing very well with the info. It is actually kind of funny that teams would make a bold accusation considering trying to steal signs is a part of the game. I mean do the Rockies, their annoucers specifically, think that Billmeyer is that dumb to be sitting there with binoculars in full view of everyone? Secondly, even if the Phillies were blatantly stealing signs, I’d put one in the ribs of Howard or Utley or Werth or one of the other stars of the team. That would send a sign. Well atleast one wouldn’t have to be stolen.

*****

ESPN showed their stupidity and obvious ignorance again. While doing an interview with Buster Olney, the host, Josh something or another, took shots at Charlie Manuel and the Phillies. He took a shot at Uncle Cholly by accusing of him of “dragging the Mets” into the discussion of sign stealing. Actually reports were everywhere that the Mets have continously insisted that the Phillies steal signs. Do your homework. Secondly, ESPN try to get Buster to go off on the Phillies for allegedly stealing signs. Olney was basically ambivilent to the whole situation and brushed it off. Thank God for the MLB Network.

Is Austin Hyatt using Roy Halladay’s locker?

Hyatt completely destroyed the Jupiter Hammerheads on Tuesday. He went eight innings strong giving up no runs, one hit, and two walks. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that he also struck out a career high 14 hitters.

Hyatt is easily moving up the ranks in the Phillies organization. I definitely would not worry about rushing the kid. Hyatt, 24 on the 23rd, is definitely a surprise as he was drafted in the 15th round of the 2009 draft. Which means all 30 teams picked 466 players before him.

In his short career, Hyatt has a good line:

  • 9-1 25 G (11 GS) 1.50 ERA 0.83 WHIP 26 BBs 142 Ks

He is already at High A Clearwater and has a good possibility of ending the season in AA Reading. If all goes well for Hyatt, we should expect to see him either as a call up in 2011 or sometime during the 2012 season.

84? Well Not Really.

Due to the G20 Summit, litterally steps away from the Rogers Centre, the Blue Jays series versus the Phillies, has been moved to the comfy confines of Citizens Bank Park. While the Phillies will play 84 games in the Bank, technically these three will still be considered away games. AL rules will be enforced and the Phils will where their road grays.

The funny thing is that Toronto’s attendance numbers will be bumped up significantly due to it. As of Tuesday, Toronto has welcomed a horrendous 258,528 (15,207 per) fans. Chances are they add roughly 130,000 to that number over those three days. So, for all the money that Toronto makes off the local fans that weekend, there is only one thing to say.

“You’re Welcome”

Phillies beat Drabek, Draft looms

Monday night the Reading Phillies welcomed back former Phillies prospect Kyle Drabek. He struck out 7 in 6 innings of work. Unfortunately, Drabek fell victim to the big inning, allowing 4 earned runs in the second inning. His big inning was the result of a walk, two singles, two doubles, and a hit batter. He did hold Phillies prospects Domonic Brown, Freddy Galvis, and Tyson Gillies to a lone hit in nine at bats between them. Just a hiccup in the road. Drabek is going to be phenominal pitcher in the major leagues.

***

We are now officially less than 4 weeks away from the annual rule 4 first year players draft. The Phillies first pick comes late in the first round, 27th overall. Unfortunately, the Phils have absolutely NO shot at high profile draft prospects like Bryce Harper, Zach Cox, or Robbie Aviles. That’s the price you have to pay for being the best team in the National League two years running. 

The Phillies really need to get some quality picks in the next two or three drafts. The current core is getting older with Utley, Howard, Rollins, Werth, Ruiz, Polanco, and Ibanez all being on the wrong side of 30. While Howard and Utley will remain for years to come, guys like Werth and Ibanez may not.

The Phillies do not really need to worry about the outfield for prospects with players like Domonic Brown, Tyson Gillies, and Anthony Gose all in the pipeline. Starting pitchers are a few years away, but they are there. The Phillies really need to develop some premiere infield talent. They have no can’t miss 3B prospect. Unless SS Freddy Galvis can find the ability to hit, he will be no better than a bench middle infielder.

Hopefully, there will be some signability types that drop that the Phillies can pick up, even though it is not there M.O. They generally take a toolsy HS player or a high risk high reward player out of college. Hopefully, the Phillies can get the right players at the right price that can contribute in a year or two. 

Player to watch?

The Phillies currently have a prospect who hasn’t really been tested. He is just what the Phillies are looking for. He may or may not make the bigs. But right now, he is one of the best in his league. Who am I talking about you ask?

Little known 19 year old Nevri Jimenez. He plays 3B for the Phillies in the Dominican Summer League. The season hasn’t gotten under way yet down in the Dominican, but here is Jimenez’ line from 2009.

  • .347/.428/.521 2 HRs, 2 3Bs, 11 2Bs, 15 RBIs, 12 SBs in just 121 ABs

If he can repeat this performance, or do even better I think he would have to be under consideration to be moved to the Gulf Coast League or Williamsport. Jimenez just turned 19 in March and still has a little more room to improve on power as he has the frame to add muscle to.

MiLB P.O.W. 4/25-3/2

This weeks minor leaguer of the week is Cody Overbeck. Overbeck is the starting 3B for the High A Clearwater Threshers. Overbeck, 24 next month, was drafted by the Phillies in the ninth round of the 2008 draft. Overbeck struggled last season in Clearwater hitting .230. He did manage to 36 extra base hits (23 doubles, 1 triple, and 12 HRs) in 361 ABs. But enough with the history lesson, let’s look at the week that just ended.

  • .348/.400/.957 with 4 HRs and 7 RBIs.

That’s an impressive 1.357 OPS. Overbeck now has 7 Homeruns and 16 total extra base hits on the early season. He is almost a lock to have career highs in the power numbers. The only areas of concern are his strikeouts and his defense. He strikes out almost 20% of the time. He already has 2 errors charged to him in just 23 games.

Overbeck appears to have a lot of upside at a position of need. What also makes him work is the fact he is right handed. Polanco is signed thru 2012, so that gives Overbeck until then to find his way. It is very plausible that we are watching the beginning of the career of our third baseman of the future.

Phillies smoke Mets. Back on top.

On paper, this looked like 2 of 3 for the wins. Kendrick pitched like himself in the series opener as the Phils dropped the fifth game in the last seven. Roy Halladay came in and pitched a gem against Mike Pelfrey, the alleged 1a to Johan Santana. Pitching against Halladay didn’t help, but the Pelfrey’s numbers almost predicted a massive failure. Before Sat., Pelfrey had given up more hits and walks combined than innings pitched. Coming into Sunday’s primetime event Johan vs. Moyer looked like another series loss. Moyer did not have his A game giving up 5 runs early against the Mets. But Johan pitched like an injured pitcher. He only threw roughly 3 breaking balls and got lit up by the Phils giving up 10 earned runs. So the Phils walk away with 2 of 3 and are back on top in the NL East.

*Ben Francisco came into the game to replace Jayson Werth which apparently was because of a sore hip. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come.

Phillie of the Week: 4/24-4/30

werth.jpgA little premature due to the off day on Thursday, but this weeks Phillie of the Week is Jayson Werth. Werth hit at a 5 for 17 (.294) including two homeruns, six RBIs, and a stolen base. The most impressive games that Werth stood out in was the middle game of the Diamondbacks series and the finale to the Giants series.

Werth put the Phils on his back against the Diamondbacks last Saturday night. He went 2 for 4 with 2 solo homeruns. If not for Werth’s power, the Phillies’ struggling offense could have been swept by the Diamondbacks.

Werth again pulled the Phillies out of the fire Wednesday afternoon in San Francisco. Down three with two outs and down to their last strike, Werth laced a double down the right field line off of Giants closer Brian Wilson. The Phils went on to win two innings later as the Giants fell apart.

The Phillies went 4-5 on their nine game road trip. Not bad. It could have been worse. It should have been better. If not for Werth, the Phils could have been in trouble.

Ryan Howard Extension National Reactions

Following up my post from yesterday, a number of “baseball insiders” from national media have commented on the contract extension of Ryan Howard. I am not going to name names, but I am very disappointed in most of the reactions. A lot of pundits did not have applicable reasoning behind why they think that the Phillies made a poor decision. Moreso, I am definitely disappointed with a certain “insider”‘s professionalism. I believe most of you know who I am talking about, but if you don’t I will hint only this. He actually wrote in his blog that he “laughed” upon hearing about the signing.

To all the writers who think that the Phillies will regret this signing, I present my case. Many of you have gathered a plethera of stats comparing Ryan Howard to a multitude of players in comprable situations. The only flaw with your approach is that Ryan Howard is NOT comprable to ANY player that has or does play this game. Ryan Howard has a playoff pedigree. So to you, I provide the only numbers that need be mentiioned.

  • 2005 National League Rookie of the Year
  • 2006 National League Most Valuable Player
  • 2008 World Series Champion
  • 2009 National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player

I dare anyone, reporter or not, to find one player with those accomplishments in their first 5 years in the league. So to say that Ryan Howard’s numbers compare to any player is unfair. Many media outlets like to promote Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Albert Pujols, etc. None of which have put up the numbers that Ryan Howard has. None of them have accomplished what Ryan Howard has.

Many of you will state that Albert Pujols is a multiple MVP winner. Well Albert Pujols is a hypocrite and needs to check himself. I do not doubt that Mr. Pujols is one of the game’s premier players, but following the 2006 MVP presentation, Mr. Pujols was quoted as questioning how can someone who’s team did not even qualify for postseason play be eligible to win the MVP? First off, he had just won a World Series title. I would imagine that any player would prefer to win a championship than a league most valuable player award. To bring things full circle, in 2007, Mr. Pujols won the NL MVP award, yet his team did not qualify for post season play. How could someone accept an award that he himself stated he should not have been eligible for.

Either you are a sheep and follow suit with other national media or you are just as big a hypocrite as Albert Pujols. Three of the four titles are voted upon by the BBWAA. So I do not understand how you can talk out of both sides of your mouth, stating that Howard is deserving of all these titles, but not the compensaiton that comes with it.

*UPDATE*

As for the whole debate between which is the best first baseman offensively, I would like for everyone to take a look at the numbers. I’ve taken Albert Pujols out of consideration because no one seriously thinks that he is ever going to leave St. Louis. The remaining two premier names heading into free agency after the 2011 season are Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder. Both are younger than Howard, who would be 31 at the conclusion of the 2011 season. Gonzalez would be 29 and Fielder would be 27. Both of which, as some reporters will say, are past their prime as hitters.

Since the 2006 season, the players stack up like this. I chose 2007-current because Ryan Howard won the NL MVP in 2006. That wouldn’t be fair to compare considering NEITHER of the other two candidates have won the MVP.

  • Ryan Howard:      37 HRs 130 RBIs .711 OPS .218 Avg.
  • Prince Fielder:     34 HRs 116 RBIs .773 OPS .260 Avg.
  • Adrian Gonzalez: 32 HRs 108 RBIS .723 OPS .234 Avg.

If those numbers seem a little off to you, that is because those are purely the numbers versus left handed pitching. I know some of you will want to be quick to point out the number of strike outs. I concede that. Ryan Howard is a strikeout machine. Ryan Howard will continuously be battling Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunn for most strikeouts in a season, but strikeouts are irrelevent when it comes to production. An out is an out. Whether you strike out or groundout. Clearly, Ryan Howard has produced more with less success at the plate than either of the other two.

I also would like to point out that outside of 2008, neither Prince Fielder nor Adrian Gonzalez have even played on a team that made the postseason. So if you think by either one of those players going to a contender will help improve their numbers, I would disagree. The more pertinent games played at the end of the season will more likely result in decreasing numbers.

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