There is a big difference between Cliff Lee of the Philadelphia Phillies and the next phenom at Double-A Reading. It is not, however, the level of talent.
This is my 12th poll and I will hone them over time, like my other postings. If you’re interested in checking out something different, my storyline articles–by design–represent a baseball man’s thinking, the view from the dugout and the GM’s box. Please go to my author archives or the Phillies page for my most recent coverage. Scroll down to Tal’s Handy Links at the bottom. Thank you.
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AGREE OR DISAGREE
The Other Side of the Ball:
The ability to repeat mechanics is crucial for a long career in the majors.
In Reading, the young guns hit their target 40% of the time, while 70% is the result needed for the parent club. Nowhere is this more evident than with Phillippe Aumont, because this is the hurdle he must clear for longevity in Philly. Against the Reds on Wednesday, he got ahead of 2 hitters with 0-2 counts but he could not throw a borderline ball. His problem is making pitches that just miss enough to fool the batter.
There are 4 categories on the field to consider: They are the 5-man staff, the endgame studs, middle relief and defense. After miscues aplenty in March, the gloves are, so far, 11th out of 30 teams. On the left side of the diamond, Michael Young and Dom Brown have not been liabilities. In center Ben Revere has been mostly spectacular, while Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard have performed up to expectations.
Most organizations are in trouble if the starter leaves the contest early, and the Phils are no exception to that rule with only 7 good outings out of 15 middle-relief attempts. Chad Durbin has 3 good appearances consecutively since his first 2 clunkers, Jeremy Horst has struggled in half of his 6 chances, and Raul Valdes has only 1 good showing so far. However, there are reasons to anticipate some reliability in this area. Horst (1.15 ERA), Durbin (3.10 ERA) and Valdes (2.90 ERA) were fairly successful in these roles last year.
Jonathan Papelbon is 1 of the top 3 closers in baseball, and Mike Adams is the premier 8th-inning setup man. Antonio Bastardo is decent when he is on top of his game, but will he falter after he hits a rough patch? Aumont has the makeup of a hammer and has devastating stuff, albeit with command difficulties. He will stumble here and there but he will mostly shine.
The rotation is very solid when you go by the slotting. Cole Hamels and Lee are a solid 1-2 punch that compares to any in either league. Roy Halladay is more efficient than most threes, and it would not be a surprise to see him at or near the level of Lee. Kyle Kendrick has the ability to produce numbers like a 3, and John Lannan was better than most thought before his injury.
When there are more pluses than minuses, the good outweighs the bad.
Do you agree or disagree?
Mostly or completely?
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Check out my last poll (The Lumber Appraisal) and most recent storyline (The 7th Inning) on the Phillies page or my author archives, where there is an excerpt photo. I will periodically publish the 2013 ERA for the NL East and the MLB 5. Thank you, to all who bookmarked my page.
Philadelphia Phillies story-poll: This side of the ball (The Lumber Appraisal)
Philadelphia Phillies storyline: Phil the Phillie (The 7th Inning)
Tal Venada (Author Archives)