I wrote an article on MLB aces ( Tal’s Handy Caps: Who Will Be The 5th Ace? ), and that total has been dwindling. Those that are left from the other 2011 organizations are: ATL RHP Tim Hudson, FLA RHP Josh Johnson, STL RHP Chris Carpenter, SF RHP Tim Lincecum, COL RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, NYY LHP C.C. Sabathia, BOS LHP Jon Lester, TB LHP David Price, DET RHP Justin Verlander and SEA RHP Felix Hernandez. The Phillies have RHP Halladay, LHP Lee, RHP Roy Oswalt and LHP Cole Hamels, which is 4 of 14 with the other 10 on different franchises. I don’t include NYM LHP Johan Santana and STL RHP Adam Wainwright due to an injury-limited summer. MIL RHP Zack Greinke had a stud ‘09 season, but a poor ‘10, while CWS RHP Jake Peavy has had consecutive health-riddled years.
Baseball-Fix Monday: Week 15 (Early Edition)
Place your pointer on MLB at the top of the page until the six divisions drop down, hover over NL East, and click Philadelphia Phillies to view the before-the-collision photo, if you are so inclined.
During this 4-campaign run of glory, The Phillies have provided us with an AL-style scoring juggernaut. The hitting isn’t what it has been, but with the exception of the 3-hole early-season challenge, it isn’t totally inept. Now, we have pitching dominance that’s unfathomable to imagine besides a dream rotation. But it’s not a hallucination, it’s a come-to-life fantasy-league staff. I’m down to reviewing the final 11 of 25 positions plus DL’ed stars. This is a fluid situation for the concluding 6 previews: 2 principals with readiness questions, 5 relievers, and 5 infielders–12 players. As you can see, we are down to the less certain bullpen and bench jobs.
Last summer he recorded a 60-game 3.68 ERA for 36.2 innings, allowing 30 hits, 17 runs (15 earned) and 29 free passes to 28 K’s. He accrued 3 outs over 2 relief spots during the playoffs. He converted 9 of 11 holds and 3 saves in 4 attempts. J.C. had control issues, and he’s seeking a bounce-back year since his ‘08 success. He somewhat found himself in his last 20 contests, albeit a small degree, but it was enough to earn him a belated opportunity for a rebound. In those 20 outings, he worked 12 full, scattering 10 hits and 3 all-earned runs with 6 BB to 8 punch outs for a 2.25 ERA. I haven’t heard any bad camp reports about him, his stats are satisfactory, and I’m anticipating an acceptable result from him.
He had a 5.48 ERA in 51 appearances for 47.2 total, giving up 55 hits and 31 runs (29 earned) with 23 bases on balls to 28 strikeouts. He had his worst adventure on The Braves’ closing-day chance for the postseason, coughed up 4 earned runs in 0.2 frames to bloat his night-before 4.79 ERA. If he can throw with precision, he will take his March numbers into April and beyond. It wouldn’t be the first time a reliever rallied from statistical ashes to a respectable and important role. I am not surprised by his spring results, and expect him to remain relevant when the calendar changes.
Ross Gload hit .281, 6 homeruns and 22 RBI for 128 at-bats. He will see ample time in right field and at the dish, and no one has ever doubted his skills with the lumber. The pitfall is that his RF glove work can be vulnerable with prolonged exposure. Wilson Valdez batted .258 with 4 homers and 35 RBI in 333 AB’s. He is contributing on many occasions to a winning club, and I don’t believe it is a fluke. Brian Schneider produced a .240 average, 4 taters and 15 RBI in 125 official visits to the plate. He is a solid defensive catcher, who provides some left-handed offense. He can face difficult right-handed competition, and give Chooch Ruiz a break to heal without a costly drop in performance.
The Last Six:
I have analyzed 19 professionals, which leaves 6 remaining. Brad Lidge and Chase Utley will be covered later this month, and that would be in addition to all who make the 25 able-bodied squad. I prefer to have the latest picture for those 2 stars before commenting. Kyle Kendrick and John Mayberry Jr. would probably represent 2 of those slots. LHP Antonio Bastardo, RHP David Herndon, RHP Scott Mathieson and LHP Matt Zagurski are vying for 2 seats in the ‘pen, if The Phillies carry 12 arms. They may take Luis Castillo instead of a 12th hurler. The brain trust would prefer someone who could play the infield and the outfield. That group of warriors includes Josh Barfield, Delwyn Young, Pete Orr and Michael Martinez (Rule 5). That’s 9 pieces for 2 fill-ins plus 2 full-time openings, and the decisions will probably loom until or near the end of training.
I will do a precap of Halladay vs. Brett Myers, and the last 6 to 8 personnel appraisals when finalized. I will be doing a game-day 2011 ERA For NL East, and here is a format example ( Philadelphia Phillies: 2010 NL East ERA ) to view. Here is my page link ( Tal Venada ) and I would bookmark it, if you intend to return for parts 2 through 162. 2011 ERA For MLB 5 will feature the same approach, highlighting the best or most interesting rotations: The Phillies, The Giants, The Red Sox, The Dodgers and The Brewers. Plus, I will post links to related articles and the other ERA stats.