With Roy Halladay on the bump, the Philadelphia Phillies don’t have many remaining outs to get. That stated, Rube Amaro has a collection of green studs in the ‘pen and at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. How many will make the grade?
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CAP-SIZE HINDSIGHT: 3-1 Triumph
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This is an article that got buried by the end of the sellout streak, and I decided to publish an updated version.
Amaro will have $13.5M to spend after commitments, achieved incentives, a buyout, and dollars for the 2013 trade deadline, which is broken down in my recent article marked above. In between his biggest need for a third basemen and his current outfield holdovers, there are the young relievers before the hammer. Third base is an outside-the-organization player, while the trio in front of the warning track is a no-choice gamble. The section with in-house solutions that will fill some of the openings is the bullpen.
There are 6 seats after Jonathan Papelbon with 2 being filled by the present 8th-frame options: Antonio Bastardo and Josh Lindblom. The 2 best of the rest should leave 2 open spots for free-agent acquisitions. Going with 4 youngsters is not a comforting feeling, and even 3 is only slightly less foreboding. This group consists of Michael Stutes, David Herndon, Michael Schwimer, Jeremy Horst, Jake Diekman, B.J. Rosenberg, Justin De Fratus, Joe Savery and Phillippe Aumont.
There is a lot of additional firepower in this arsenal. Working from the bottom up, Aumont has a 3.63 ERA with 13 saves at Lehigh Valley, but has a 2.31 ERA for his last 10 appearances. He will probably be a September callup with Savery, De Fratus and Diekman. Savery was decent half the time, the effective Diekman was limited to 1 or 2 batters, and De Fratus spent most of the year on the DL after his fine final month (MLB) in 2011. Stutes and Herndon won’t return until spring training.
The first of 3 to watch is Rosenberg, who had 2 solid opportunities against 2 contenders. He may have fixed a few things at Lehigh Valley before his reactivation. Horst was the reliever the GM dealt Wilson Valdez for in the off-season, and he has earned Cholley Manuel’s trust. Schwimer’s stats below are after he received a major overhaul from pitching coach Rich Dubee. He, also, has earned their faith in him.
Amaro does not need a $13.5M third sacker–Polly Polanco made $6M. $7.5M should be able to pay 1 set-up man for the 8th and 1 or 2 other pieces. You want to know where Rube will spend money? Watch the young wings in the ‘pen, and judge how confident they make you feel.
There are many outcomes that can happen in the relief corps from a total bust to a top-tier closer. Then, there are the ones in the middle with 1 tour of excellence for the club or another after struggling here. 1 of 6 make it from signing to the show, while half succeed in the majors after achieving it at Triple-A. In recent summers there have been a number of recognizable names: Ryan Madson, Bastardo, Geoff Geary and Stutes. Brian Sanches (the Fish), Sergio Escalona (the ‘Stros), Zack Segovia (the D-backs) and Mike Zagurski (the D-backs) found roster slots on other teams. Then, there were the ones who did not make the leap to the bigs for more than a cup of coffee. Drew Carpenter, Scott Mathieson, Yoel Hernandez and Joe Bisenius hit the ceiling at Lehigh Valley.
Five had success of varying degrees, four are on the bubble, and four topped out at AAA. Zagurski, Segovia and Stutes are borderline, while Schwimer fits in that category also. The basic yardstick is 1 of 2 will complete the jump from Triple-A to the MLB. If Schwimer is one of 3 that accomplishes that, two more would come from: Diekman, Rosenberg, De Fratus, Savery or Aumont. This is the strongest class of relievers from the minors for the Phils that I can recall. By 2014, the red pinstripes will have dominant homegrown endgame arms.
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He is 2-1 with a 3.07 ERA, going 7 plus innings in 5 of his last 6 efforts. In St. Louis around late May, his line was: 7 complete, 8 hits, 3 all-earned runs, 3 walked and 7 fanned on 111 pills.
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He has worked 6.1 frames or more in 11 of 22 attempts with 5 clunkers. Against the Phils at home in late May, his mark was: 3.2 innings, 8 hits, 6 all-earned runs, 3 free passes and 4 strikeouts on 92 tosses.
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Starters’ photos, not described otherwise, are in the 1st inning.
Quality number of the pitcher: 1 – 5
Slot on his club: 1 – 5
Ranking is 1 to 5 & 15 for the less adventurous.
*** = Approximately equal to after plus-and-minus computation
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13TH RIDE OF THE HORSEMEN:
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